Passenger numbers at Scotland’s regional airports increased by almost 2.2% last month – February 2013.
The latest figures released by airport operator, HIAL [Highlands and Islands Airports Limited] show that its 11 airports handled 87,476 passengers in February, an increase of 1869 passengers compared to the same month last year.
In the year to date (April 2012-February 2013), passenger numbers across the group increased by 2.9%.
Growth was strongest at Sumburgh and Wick John O’Groats, both of which have benefited from increased energy sector and refueling activity. Passenger numbers grew 33.3% at Sumburgh – by 4,361; and by 61.5% – by 1,296 at Wick John O’Groats. Kirkwall also enjoyed strong growth, with numbers up by 977, as a result of increased demand on inter-island and mainland services.
Demand was also up at Barra, Benbecula, Islay and Tiree, with the last two, in Argyll, showing respectively 0.9% and 8.8% year on year growth.
However, passenger numbers fell at Dundee [-55.6%], Campbeltown [-20.7%], Inverness [-4.4%] and Stornoway [-6.9%]. These falls in demand are due to schedule changes and fewer aircraft movements.
In the case of Campbeltown, local and tourism bodies have got agreement from the operator FlyBe to schedule weekend flights into the town. It will be interesting to see what impact this development achieves. The worry is that such initiatives can simply be dropped into the schedules with no savvy marketing support, producing minimal response and leading to the wrong conclusion that the destination lacks attraction.
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL says: ‘After a strong start in January, growth was more modest in February. Nevertheless the underlying picture is positive with numbers up by almost 3% over the past year, and double digit growth at a number of our airports, including Sumburgh and Wick John O’Groats.
‘As we approach the start of the summer season, we expect that growth will continue and that Inverness, in particular, will recover from what has been a relatively slow winter as airlines increase capacity during the busier summer months.’
February passenger total
- BARRA 537 (+11.2%)
- BENBECULA 2,692 (+6.7%)
- CAMPBELTOWN 553 (-20.7%)
- DUNDEE 2,003 (-55.6%)
- INVERNESS 37,882 (-4.4%)
- ISLAY 1,596 (+0.9%)
- KIRKWALL 11,793 (+9%)
- STORNOWAY 8,908 (-6.9%)
- SUMBURGH 17,457 (+33.3%)
- TIREE 652 (+8.8%)
- WICK JOHN O’GROATS 3,403 (+61.5%)