Growth in passenger numbers
Further funding sought as HIAL cuts losses
Vital links: airports contribute to economic growth
Highlands and Islands Airports is seeking further funding after cutting its losses from £3.38 million to £8,000.
HIAL, run by a company wholly owned by the Scottish government, manages 11 airports across the region and saw a 15.4% rise in customers to 1.6 million in the last financial year.
It has invested £16 million across the group’s airports at Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.
Chief executive, Inglis Lyon, believes the airport group is in good shape for further growth in the current financial year.
“Whilst we are delighted with the progress being made, the HIAL board and our partners must take advantage of this positive position by finding additional funding from which to further invest in our facilities and services and ensure the growth trend continues to be upwards.
“Connectivity remains key to the success of the Scottish, as well as the Highland and Islands economy, and for HIAL, it is at the forefront of everything we do.
“Over the last year we witnessed significant improvements both in business and tourism traffic, with new and additional flights to some of Europe’s busiest transport hubs, meaning the region is better connected by air than ever before.”
In recent years HIAL has placed significant focus on developing new routes with the various airports’ offering improved significantly, with new routes to Amsterdam Schiphol, London Heathrow, Norway’s Bergen from Kirkwall, as well as a first flight from Inverness to Palma, Majorca.
Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf welcomed the progress being made at HIAL and said: “These figures are very encouraging and I commend the staff at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd for their hard work.”.
Mr Lyon, also pointed to the route development initiatives and increased investment in facilities as playing a key role in recent success within the airport group and said they were beginning to reap rewards for all involved.
“These new links mean the airports are now better connected than ever. With Highland links to two of the world’s busiest aviation hubs at London and Schiphol, passengers have quick and easy access to global transfers taking them to the rest of the world.
“Further development and improvement in connectivity for the Highlands is not only good for tourism, but crucial to attract new inward investment and enhanced business opportunities.”
He said Inverness airport contributed a £75 million boost for the Highlands economy from increased visitor numbers.
“In addition, we have also placed additional emphasis on creating an even more efficient organisation, with a strong focus on reducing overheads. As a publicly owned company, everyone at HIAL is aware of the need to deliver positive results and exceptional value for money for the taxpayer.”