Highlands & Islands

Regional airport operator Hial reports record figure

Aircraft at Barra Airport Image copyright Stuart Nicol

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) has reported that its passenger numbers rose to a new record level last year.

It said it handled a total of 1,606,168 travellers during 2016, an increase of 154,375 passengers on the 2015 total of 1,451,792 passengers - a rise of 10.6%.

Hial operates sites in the Highlands, Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Dundee Airport.

Inverness Airport is one of the busiest of its 11 airports.

Its connections to airports in London and continental Europe helped Inverness to achieve a figure of 796,854 passengers in 2016 - 118,171 more than in 2015.

However, Hial said passenger numbers declined at Wick John O'Groats and Stornoway in Lewis due to reduced demand from energy sector services to and from Aberdeen.

'Greater connectivity'

Campbeltown recorded a "narrow fall" in annual passenger numbers of 1.1%.

Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said: "We are delighted to report that the overall passenger numbers continue to rise.

"This clearly illustrates the value of our services to the communities they serve and proves there is strong demand for ever greater connectivity to and from the Highlands and Islands.

"Our regional airports have a key role to play in strengthening Scotland's economy and offering great choice for leisure and business passengers."

He added: "We will continue to invest in our airports, work in partnership with the airlines and destination airports, and further develop our customer service as we attract new business and look to cement our growth in the future."

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