Mixed Passenger Results for Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Airports

Scotland’s regional airports gained more than 8,000 additional passengers last month though seven of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL)’s 11 airports recorded a drop passenger numbers.
HIAL’s 11 airports handled 122,546 passengers in May, an increase of 8,180 on May 2012 (+7.2%).  The airport operating company says continuing oil sector growth saw Sumburgh attract an extra 4,967 passengers (+29.3%), while Wick John O’Groats recorded an additional 2,796 passengers in May (+123%).
At Kirkwall, strong demand for inter-island routes and scheduled flights to Aberdeen, Inverness and Shetland, saw passenger numbers rise by 2,471 (+17.2%).  At Inverness, growth on the flagship Amsterdam service, coupled with increased domestic traffic, saw passenger numbers rise by 1,406 over the previous May (+2.5%).  In a further boost, easyJet is to provide additional seasonal flights between the Highland capital and London Gatwick from next month.
The Western Isles airports (Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra) all reported a drop in passenger numbers as a result of recent schedule changes.  Dundee’s passenger numbers were similarly down on last year along with those for Islay, Tiree and Campbeltown.
However, a new Sunday service between Glasgow and Campbeltown – launched this month (June) – is expected to provide a boost for tourism in the Kintyre peninsula, enabling golfing trips and weekend breaks.
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL said: “The continuing success of flybe’s Inverness to Amsterdam service is welcome news for the region and highlights the importance of Schiphol as a world hub for the north.  However, it is vital that the region continues to push for access to London’s main airports, and we are working closely with easyJet and others to grow the hugely successful Gatwick market.  At the same time, we would urge the UK Government to do more to safeguard regional links into London.”
He added: “Across the board, HIAL’s airports attracted an additional 8,000 passengers last month, with strong growth across our northern airports.
“Elsewhere, recent schedule changes continue to have an impact on passenger numbers, notably in the Western Isles and at Dundee.
“We remain focused on providing additional choice for passengers in those areas, and across our network.  The recent addition of Sunday flights at Campbeltown is a welcome move and could provide an economic boost for the region, as too will the return of scheduled flights to Bergen from Inverness, Kirkwall and Sumburgh.”
Flybe franchise partner Loganair resumed twice-weekly flights from Inverness, Kirkwall and Sumburgh to Bergen on June 8. Flights will operate every Wednesday and Saturday until August 31 2013.
Sunday flights from Glasgow to Campbeltown will operate from June 16 until September 29, 2013.
easyJet will operate additional flights from Inverness to London Gatwick from July 23 until September 5.  Flights will depart Inverness every Tuesday and Thursday at 20:45.  These flights also operated during the summer 2012 schedule.
May passenger totals
•             BARRA 795 (-32.1%)
•             BENBECULA 2,840 (-13%)
•             CAMPBELTOWN 862 (-26.8%)
•             DUNDEE 2,633 (-45.4%)
•             INVERNESS 56,925 (+2.5%)
•             ISLAY     2,820 (-4.0%)
•             KIRKWALL 16,835 (+17.2%)
•             STORNOWAY 11,069 (-0.3%)
•             SUMBURGH 21,891 (+29.3%)
•             TIREE 807 (-0.1%)
•             WICK JOHN O’GROATS 5,069 (+123%)