HIAL leads the way with free WiFi

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Regional airport group HIAL has become the first in Scotland to provide free Wi-Fi for passengers.

The publicly owned company, which operates a network of 11 airports across Scotland, including Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra, began rolling out the new service last month, with the majority of airports now live.

Airport managers say the free unlimited service will allow passengers to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues while on the move.

The roll out of free Wi-Fi comes against the backdrop of a recent VisitScotland survey which highlighted visitor concerns about the lack of connectivity across Scotland. Just over half of the people surveyed by the organisation said they were happy with the availability of Wi-Fi and broadband in Scotland.

HIAL’s 11 airports handled around 1.3 million passengers in 2012.

HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon said: “I am delighted that HIAL is the first airport operator in Scotland to offer free Wi-Fi to all passengers. Wi-Fi has become an increasingly important part of our everyday lives, whether for business, catching up on emails or downloading music or video.

“As the recent VisitScotland survey shows, travellers want to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues. Given that a number of our airports are in remote island locations, where mobile phone signals can vary, we regard this as an important service for our customers and a sign of our commitment to improve the passenger experience across our airports.”

The Scottish Council for Development & Industry’s Highlands & Islands Manager, Fraser Grieve said: “The decision to roll out free Wi-Fi to all of the airports across the Highlands & Islands will be greatly appreciated by both business and leisure passengers.

“Connectivity is increasingly important to travellers and this enhancement, along with the roll out of superfast broadband across the region and Wi-Fi being introduced on trains, will help to bolster the region’s economic competitiveness and improve the visitor experience.”

Scott Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “The announcement of this fantastic free amenity is great news for passengers using these 11 airports across Scotland.

“Being able to access free Wi-Fi whilst on the move is an important tool for travellers and the fact that visitors and tourists passing through these airports can now utilise this vital service is to be welcomed.

“It is crucial that we all work together to make tourism a success story in Scotland and the introduction of this free service can only improve the passenger journey for those travelling throughout Scotland and beyond from these regional airports.”