Passenger numbers at Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) surged by more than 5% in the last quarter, with Inverness experiencing the highest growth, according to figures released yesterday.
But Sumburgh was hit by a decline in energy-sector related traffic, while Barra, Dundee, Kirkwall and Tiree also recorded drops in passenger numbers.
Hial, which operates 11 airports in Scotland, yesterday said Inverness was boosted by strong demand for its Dublin and Manchester services, and the introduction of a new weekly summer link to Zurich.
The terminal, which handled more than 186,000 passengers during the quarter, a 12% increase on the previous year, is expecting its busiest ever summer after putting an extra 60,000 seats on offer.
Overall, 385,500 passengers used one of Hial’s airports during the quarter, compared to 366,000 a year earlier.
Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said the figures represented “fantastic news for the regional economy” and businesses that rely on custom from tourists.
Mr Lyon said: “Despite some variations across the group, many of our airports are recording more passengers than ever, with Inverness enjoying a particularly strong period of growth.
“Having secured additional capacity this summer, including new flights to Zurich, and with growing demand for services to Manchester and Dublin, we expect this trend to continue over the summer.”
Islay recorded the second highest growth statistics from April to June, with 8,800 passengers using the terminal, up 8.5% year-on-year.
There were also increases at Benbecula, Campbeltown, Stornoway and Wick John O’Groats.
Dundee’s passenger numbers fell 1.6% to 5,300, partly because its charter flights to Jersey started in June this year, a month later than in 2015.
Sumburgh, the group’s second busiest terminal, saw passenger figures slide 1.1% to just under 78,000, but Hial is taking steps to offset the impact of the oil and gas terminal on the Shetland airport.
Mr Lyon added: “After a period of sustained double digit growth, we are beginning to see some levelling of activity from the energy sector at Sumburgh.
“This is a natural consequence of the well documented problems facing the sector.
“Nevertheless, we are working hard to ensure there is a strong mix of scheduled and charter traffic at Sumburgh to offset the drop in energy related activity.”