Stornoway air passenger numbers fall

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Stornoway has seen less demand for air travel in 2015 revealed as Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) announced its latest figures.

Scotland’s regional airport group gained more than 45,000 additional passengers during 2015, however passengers through Stornoway airport fell by 1,841 down 1.4% on the 2014 figures.

There was also a decrease in passengers through Sumburgh and Wick John O’Groats, which has been explained as less demand for energy sector services to and from Aberdeen. Numbers also fell at Campbeltown and Kirkwall.

Overall the figures show that 1,451,793 travellers passed through HIAL’s 11 airports in 2015, an increase of 3.2% on the previous year.

Inverness was the busiest – and fastest growing – airport with 678,683 passengers, an increase of 8% and up by more than 50,000 on the previous year.

Growth was driven by increased demand on the airport’s international services, including Amsterdam, Dublin, Geneva and Zurich as well as increased traffic to UK hubs Manchester and London Gatwick.

Islay was also a strong performer in 2015, with passenger numbers up by 6.9%. Barra, Benbecula and Tiree also recorded increases.

Dundee Airport ended the year in a strong position, recording two consecutive quarters of growth in the second half of 2015 due to increased golf leisure traffic and growing demand for its daily Stansted service.

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL, said: “The last twelve months have been the busiest in HIAL’s 30 year history with record numbers of business and leisure passengers using our airports.

“This growth illustrates the enormous importance of our regional airports to Scotland’s economy.

“The diversity of our group is unrivalled anywhere in the UK. From Barra’s iconic beach landing, this year celebrating its 80th anniversary, to the busy city hub of Inverness and the economic driver that is Sumburgh, each of our airports ensures that businesses, tourism providers and communities are better connected.”

He added: ““We will continue to invest in our airports, with major developments planned or underway at Inverness and Sumburgh this year, and continued efforts to improve our customer service and attract more business across the group. Notwithstanding the welcome arrival of British Airways and KLM at Inverness we have more work to do to attract new business and improve our financial outlook.”