Scotland business

Scottish airports report bumper passenger numbers

Edinburgh Airport
Edinburgh Airport led the way last year with almost 9.8 million passengers

Scotland's main airports have enjoyed a bumper year for passenger numbers, according to new figures.

Edinburgh said almost 9.8 million people used the airport in 2013 - the highest number on record for a Scottish airport.

Aberdeen also reported the busiest year in its history, with nearly 3.5 million people passing through the airport last year.

Glasgow enjoyed its busiest year since 2008, with 7.4 million passengers.

The latest annual figures saw Edinburgh become the fifth busiest airport in the UK and the third biggest city in terms of airport passenger numbers, following London and Manchester.

December 2013 saw strong passenger growth, with 645,447 passengers passing through the airport - an increase of 11% compared with the same period in 2012.

Domestic passenger numbers saw the biggest rise last month with a total of 350,577, a rise of 6.9% from 2012.

'Landmark year'

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar described 2013 as "a landmark year".

"It was a year in which we fulfilled our promises on new route development, securing three long-haul hub connections and bolstering our domestic and European services," he said.

"We also commenced work on a £25m expansion and improvement project.

He added: "The passenger figures speak for themselves. Two consecutive million months in the summer, in addition to six months of continued passenger increases, means last year was the busiest year ever for any Scottish airport - a fantastic achievement."

Aberdeen International Airport Airport attracted just under 3.5 million passengers - 3.8% more than the previous year.

Nearly 520,000 of that figure were helicopter passengers.

The final month of 2013 saw numbers increase by 8.1% to 261,445, with growth in both the fixed-wing and helicopter operations.

The airport's managing director, Carol Benzie, said: "What this represents is a recovery from the recession which hit the whole of the UK aviation sector, some more than others.

"We have recovered and then improved upon that performance as a result of great team-work and the continued buoyancy of our region."

Glasgow growth

Glasgow Airport recorded its third consecutive year of growth, with a 2.9% rise to 7.4 million passengers.

The airport's operators said much of the growth could be attributed to a marked rise in long-haul and European traffic, which grew by 11% and 15% respectively.

The arrival of airlines such as Wizz Air and Lufthansa Regional contributed to the increase in international traffic, as did a strong performance by long-haul carriers Emirates, United and Virgin Atlantic.

The airport said there was also strong demand for Glasgow's London and UK regional routes.

Glasgow Airport managing director Amanda McMillan said: "To have recorded our busiest year in five years and our third consecutive year of growth is very pleasing."

She added: "Whilst the growth in numbers would appear to suggest a renewed confidence amongst airlines and passengers, we are still operating in what remains a difficult economic environment and achieving further growth will be a challenge."

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