Record passenger numbers for Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport boss Amanda McMillan hailed the 'landmark' passenger numbers. Picture: Contributed
Glasgow Airport boss Amanda McMillan hailed the 'landmark' passenger numbers. Picture: Contributed
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Glasgow Airport, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, has exceeded nine million passengers during a rolling 12-month period for the first time in its history.

The airport also recorded its busiest May on record after almost 830,000 passengers travelled through its doors during the month, representing an increase of 5.5 per cent on the same period last year.

Domestic and international traffic grew by 5 per cent and 5.9 per cent respectively, with domestic services boosted by the introduction by Flybe of new services to Newquay, Cardiff and Exeter. Demand for European destinations including Berlin, Milan, Bucharest and Budapest contributed to the increase in international passenger numbers.

READ MORE: Delta to compete on Glasgow-New York route

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Surpassing nine million passengers is a landmark for the airport and to have achieved this in our 50th anniversary year makes it particularly special.

“Our success in strengthening our connectivity with key European cities has generated significant demand from passengers which is reflected in May’s figures. We have always had a strong track record in long haul due to the huge population surrounding Glasgow Airport which provides a catchment of 2.3 million people. This is recognised by airlines and last month Air Transat launched its direct service to Montreal, Canada in what was a first for Scotland.

“Air Canada Rouge will launch its direct flights to Toronto this month and we received welcome news that Delta will introduce flights to New York JFK in 2017. These routes will play a major role in supporting our growing tourism industry and provide Scottish businesses with direct links to important global markets.”

In contrast, passenger numbers dipped at Aberdeen International Airport, with a total of 270,000 passengers travelling through the terminal in May, down 10.4 per cent on a year ago.

Helicopter traffic was down 15.5 per cent, while international passengers dropped 0.5 per cent and domestic numbers fell by 13.9 per cent.

The airport attributed the dip in domestic passengers to the withdrawal of Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red service between Aberdeen and Heathrow in September.

Managing director Carol Benzie said the airport’s ability to secure routes was being “severely hampered” by air passenger duty (APD), due to be devolved to Holyrood.

READ MORE: Airport boss and airlines pressure MSPs to slash passenger duty

The Scottish Government recently consulted on an alternative to the tax, setting out plans to reduce the levy by 50 per cent before eventually abolishing it altogether.

Benzie said: “In our recent submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on APD, we called for progress on this policy as a matter of urgency to ensure that the north-east of Scotland can make a swift recovery.

“In addition to acting as a barrier to securing new services, APD makes it extremely challenging to maintain vital, existing domestic services. Its reduction and eventual abolition will undoubtedly play a major role in strengthening our connectivity, ensuring we are ready to respond when our economy recovers.”

Last week, Edinburgh Airport said its numbers were up 8.5 per cent year-on-year, with 1,111,377 passengers using the airport in May – a record for the month.