The offshore industry’s changes to shift patterns has led to a dip in passenger figures at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial).
While Inverness Airport and Benbecula in the Western Isles saw numbers soar, Sumburgh, which serves Shetland and the North Sea sector, saw passenger figures fall 8.5% to 372,064 from 406,537.
The firm said this reflected a reduction in helicopter traffic as oil and gas firms altered flight patterns to support their offshore operations.
Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Tiree all reported increases year-on-year.
Barra, Campbeltown, Dundee and Wick saw slight drops in passenger journeys compared to the previous year.
Overall passenger numbers were down 0.7% at 1,762,871 in 2018 across the airports, compared with 1,775,168 in 2017.
Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said the performance represented a consolidation of demand across the group’s 11 airports.
He said: “Inverness Airport continues to grow and is playing an ever more important role in improving connectivity to and from the Highlands.
“Its international connections and regular flights to hub airports in Amsterdam, London and Dublin make it an attractive proposition for travellers.”
Inverness saw a 1.8% rise in passenger to 903,157 from 887,123 in 2017.
This year will see BA start its double daily flights from Inverness, and KLM will operate up to three flights per day between the Highland capital and Amsterdam for the peak summer season.
Mr Lyon added: “The overall figures illustrate the need for continued investment and support in regional airports that offer connectivity for the communities they serve.
“We continue to work with our colleagues at Transport Scotland to nurture and develop our network and ensure long-term sustainability for our airports.
“Hial will continue to invest in our airports and we continuously work to improve and enhance the passenger experience for all those who use our facilities.”
Inverness Airport was ranked one of the top airports in the UK and Europe in customer satisfaction surveys for 2018.
The industry-standard Airport Service Quality surveys assessed by Airports Council International showed that Inverness ranked second in the UK to Doncaster Sheffield airport for overall satisfaction. It was also ranked second in the UK (and top five in Europe) for the courtesy of its check-in and security team.
Mr Lyon said: “I am delighted that the hard work put in by the whole team at Inverness has ranked the airport so highly in the UK and Europe.
“This is further recognition of the dedication from all our staff who work so hard.”