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Significant growth in passengers

Highlands enjoys uplift as airlines boost traffic

Sumburgh is among the airports enjoying buoyant figures

Airlines are seeing the benefits of greater connectivity with the Highlands, according to the latest figures.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) reveal a 7.4% increase in passenger numbers across its 11 airports over the last year to 1.78 million.

Highlights include 17.9% growth at Sumburgh Airport, 9.3% at Barra, 9.1% at Kirkwall, and 8.4% at Islay.  

Inverness passenger numbers increased by 46,855, further illustrating the airport’s popularity and increasingly important role as a driver for the Highland region and economy. 

The continuation of the airport’s Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol flights helped to boost numbers to 875,873 with all major routes from the city welcoming additional passengers.

Operators Loganair and TUI are both introducing new routes from Inverness in the coming months to destinations including Majorca and Bergen.

Strong demand on flights from Glasgow to Barra, Islay and Kirkwall saw increases in passenger numbers at these airports, with Kirkwall attracting 195,982 passengers.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “Overall, the past year has been another of significant growth in passenger figures across the HIAL group.

“This highlights the customer demand for our air services and the continued support and connectivity they provide for communities.”

Mr Lyon said passenger numbers could have been even better, but the severe weather experienced in the UK as the Beast from the East arrived resulted in many of the country’s airports closing, which had a knock-on effect on flight traffic to airports including Inverness. 

He said: “We are constantly looking at ways to attract additional business and continue to invest in our airports to further improve services and add new routes.” 

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