Fewer passengers at Campbeltown airport

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Campbeltown joined Barra, Dundee and Wick in seeing passenger journeys drop from their airports in 2018.

The latest figures in a Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) report show overall passenger numbers, at the group’s 11 airports, were down 0.7 per cent at 1,762,871 in 2018, compared with 1,775,168 in 2017.

Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Tiree all reported increases year-on-year.

Inverness Airport continued to see a rise in passengers with an increase of 1.8 per cent, up to 903,157 in 2018 from 887,123 in 2017.

Benbecula in the Western Isles reported the largest percentage increase in passenger journeys, up 6.2 per cent at 37,224.

Sumburgh, which serves the Shetlands and the North Sea sector, saw passenger movements dip 8.5 per cent to 372,064 from 406,537 in 2017.

This reflected a reduction in helicopter traffic as oil and gas firms altered flight patterns to support their offshore operations.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said the performance represented a consolidation of demand across the group’s 11 airports.

Mr Lyon said: ‘Inverness Airport continues to grow and is playing an ever more important role in improving connectivity to and from the Highlands.

‘Its international connections and regular flights to hub airports in Amsterdam, London and Dublin make it an attractive proposition for travellers.’

2019 sees BA start its double daily flights from Inverness and KLM will operate up to three flights per day between the Highland capital and Amsterdam for the peak summer season.

Mr Lyon added: ‘The overall figures illustrate the need for continued investment and support in regional airports that offer connectivity for the communities they serve.

‘We continue to work with our colleagues at Transport Scotland to nurture and develop our network and ensure long-term sustainability for our airports.

‘HIAL will continue to invest in our airports and we continuously work to improve and enhance the passenger experience for everyone who uses our facilities.’

Inverness Airport has been ranked one of the top airports in the UK and Europe in customer satisfaction surveys for 2018.

The report came out before the collapse of FlyBMI into administration, last weekend, which saw Loganair, the operator which serves Campbeltown, take on extra flights.

Loganair, which split from parent Flybe in 2017 was, last October, named the Airline of the Year by the European Regional Airline Association.

Loganair was honoured as an ‘exceptional regional airline which has rebuilt its commercial infrastructure after the end of its franchise’ while implementing ‘a complete rebrand’ undertaken by a ‘young and inspirational chief executive officer’.

It was commended for its ‘handling with success of the instant competition from its previous franchise partner’ across six crucial routes in the Scottish islands communities it serves ‘in tough and challenging conditions’.

The judging panel comprised senior industry experts including past chief executive officers of European airlines, independent aviation journalists and industry academics from a variety of European countries.

Jonathan Hinkles, managing director of Loganair and Sharon Williams, Loganair cabin crew collecting the award last October. NO_c08Loganair01_prize