Increased demand for business and tourism flights saw passenger numbers grow by more than 5,100 at Scottish airport operator HIAL’s regional airports in February and that trend looks set to continue. Latest figures show the number of passengers using the airports in February increased by 5.9% to 92,607, compared to February 2013.
There was particularly strong growth at Sumburgh (up 30.4 per cent) with increased demand from the energy sector and a rise in passengers flying between Shetland and Aberdeen. Meanwhile, at Inverness, passenger numbers grew by 3.7 per cent as a result of growth on the Amsterdam, Belfast, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester routes. The launch of a new winter ski route to Geneva also boosted passenger numbers.
Passenger numbers were also up at Kirkwall, Stornoway, Islay and Campbeltown, but declines were reported at Barra and Benbecula as a result of recent cuts to the inter-island schedule, and at Tiree. Passenger numbers were also down at Wick John O’Groats following the scheduled withdrawal of Chevron’s helicopter operations.
At Dundee, reduced capacity on the London City route resulted in a drop in passenger numbers, but a new twice daily Loganair service to London Stansted, was launched at the end of last month and will likely see traffic levels return.
“The unprecedented growth at Sumburgh is fantastic news for the local economy and underlines the important role the airport plays as a major energy hub for Scotland. Continued growth in the energy sector and in scheduled services means we need to invest for the future to accommodate the forecast growth in demand,” Inglis Lyon, managing director, HIAL explained.
“We are confident we can attract more energy related business to our airports, particularly Wick John O’Groats and Sumburgh. The recent agreement between BP and Eastern to operate energy related flights between Aberdeen and Sumburgh is a sign of the potential for growth,” he added.