Record year for airports

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More passengers are using Campbeltown airport, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) is reporting, as it sees ‘a significant increase in revenue’ this financial year.

The private limited company, which is wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers and is responsible for the management and operation of 11 airports across the Highlands and Islands, has boosted revenue to £24.9 million.

It said 2017-18 has been ‘another record year’ for passenger figures across the group with 1.78 million passengers travelling through its airports, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year.

Public subsidies received for the year end March 31 totalled £29 million, compared with £36 million the previous year. The operating loss for the year was £2.2 million compared with £8,000 in 2016/2017.

The report also illustrates investment of more than £9.9 million to improve air services and passenger experience across the group’s 11 airports: Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.

Strong demand on flights from Glasgow to Barra, Islay and Kirkwall saw increases in passenger numbers at these airports, with Kirkwall attracting 195,982 passengers. Benbecula and Campbeltown airports logged 4.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent year-on-year growth respectively.

Passenger numbers declined at Wick John O’Groats (-16.8 per cent), due in part to a continued reduction in demand from energy sector services to-and-from Aberdeen, while Dundee (-43.4 per cent) also recorded a reduction in numbers due to the loss of KLM’s Dundee to Amsterdam route.

HIAL chief executive, Inglis Lyon, said the company would continue to work towards ensuring sustainable long-term aviation connectivity for the Highlands and Islands.