Feb boost for HIAL

Scotland’s regional airport group HIAL recorded a rise in passenger numbers last month thanks to a boost in international services at Inverness and increased traffic at Sumburgh.

Figures released show that overall passenger numbers across HIAL’s network of 11 airports rose by 4845 (+6%) in February, with the total number of passengers this year up by more than 9%.

Inverness enjoyed a 12.5% rise in passenger numbers as a result of increased traffic on the popular London Gatwick route, and the continuing success of the city’s new Amsterdam service, operated six times a week by flybe.

Sumburgh recorded the largest rise in passenger numbers (+15.9%), a result of increased oil sector traffic, Up-Helly Aa festival visitors returning from the island and disruption to the ferry network.

Passenger numbers also increased in Campbeltown (+8.2%) and Stornoway (+0.2).

Numbers at Dundee fell by 8.7% due to reduced capacity of the London City route. Numbers were also down at Barra (-10.4%), Benbecula (-6.7%), Islay (-9.3%), Kirkwall (-3.2%), Tiree (-5.7%), largely as a result of weather disruption and reduced capacity. Wick had a reduction of 8.6% due to a fall in oil sector movements.

At the end of February, year to date figures show the number of passengers using HIAL’s airports rose by 9.1% (+96,579) more than last year, driven primarily by growth in Inverness (+64,071), Sumburgh (+22,030) and Stornoway (+10,766).

Dundee has seen a reduction of 8,824 passengers (-13.7%) in the year to date.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said: “We are very encouraged by the group’s overall performance. The market is still challenging, not least because of the wider economic climate, but we are nevertheless confident of continued growth across the group particularly as we approach the start of the summer season.

“We remain committed to working with our airlines partners and local stakeholders to ensure that we promote our airports and the destinations they serve, and provide a wider choice of services for our passengers.”