Airport operator HIAL’s 11 airports handled 128,142 passengers in August, an increase of 0.3% on August 2011.
The group’s busiest airport – Inverness – recorded growth of 0.5%. An increase in international traffic due to the success of the city’s Amsterdam route and the recently introduced Air France KLM code share, was offset by a lower demand in the domestic sector.
Continued growth in the oil and gas sector boosted passenger numbers at Sumburgh, which recorded an increase last month of 4.7%. Kirkwall reported a rise of 0.9%, while Islay and Barra recorded even sharper increases, up by 10.5% and 9.2% respectively. Dundee returned to growth for the first time this year, with passenger numbers up by 1.8%.
At Stornoway, passenger numbers fell by 2.4%, mainly due to the completion of the school building programme, a project which used external construction workers flying between Stornoway and the mainland. Tiree and Benbecula recorded a drop of 4.7% and 5.2% respectively. At Campbeltown, passenger numbers fell by 1 (0.1%).
A reduction in scheduled passenger movements, and weather related cancellations, saw passenger numbers at Wick fall by 34.3%.
Overall, across the HIAL network, year to date passenger numbers have increased by 2.4% (April to August 2012).
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL, said: “The market is still clearly challenging, particularly the domestic sector. Given the economic climate, and the return to recession, this is not particularly surprising. Against that background, any growth is welcome, however modest; and despite these challenges, there are also reasons to cheer, including the success of the Inverness to Amsterdam service, the continued growth in energy related traffic and Dundee’s return to growth.
“We are continuing to invest in our terminals and airport infrastructure to provide a better experience for our passengers and a more efficient operating environment for our airline customers. We are also working hard, in partnership with agencies across Scotland, to support the growth ambitions of our airlines.”
August passenger totals
• BARRA 1,602 (+9.2%)
• BENBECULA 3,473 (-5.2%)
• CAMPBELTOWN 1,196 (-0.1)
• DUNDEE 5,385 (+1.8%)
• INVERNESS 64,524 (+0.5%)
• ISLAY 3,114 (+10.5%)
• KIRKWALL 16,291 (+0.9%)
• STORNOWAY 11,570 (-2.4%)
• SUMBURGH 18,299 (+4.7%)
• TIREE 1,027 (-4.7%)
• WICK 1,661 (-34.3)
HIAL operates a network of 11 airports across Scotland: Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.
HIAL airports support vital social and welfare air links to otherwise remote communities across the Highlands and Islands, including provision of Scottish Air Ambulance and Search and Rescue services.
The airports also serve the economic and commercial interests of regional Scotland, supporting oil and gas helicopter operations, lighthouse maintenance and Royal Mail services.
The HIAL group connects regional Scotland to a network of more than 30 UK and international destinations, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, London, Southampton, Jersey, Amsterdam, Bergen, Dusseldorf and Zurich. Popular holiday destinations in Austria, Croatia, Italy and Portugal are also served from Inverness.
The company employs almost 600 people across its 11 airports, and at its group headquarters in Inverness.
In 2011/12, the group handled almost 1.26 million passengers, a rise of 8.7% on the previous financial year.
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