Drop in passenger numbers at Scotland’s regional airports
A DROP in passenger numbers at Scotland’s regional airports is being partly blamed on the Olympics.
Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial) has reported a decline of 1.3 per cent during July, compared to the same month last year.
Of the company’s 11 airports, only Inverness and Tiree reported increases.
Hial said a number of potential travellers staying at home to watch the London Games was one of the likely causes for the decline.
Despite the drop in July, the company’s statistics show it has recorded growth of 5 per cent across the group so far this financial year – better than counterparts in the rest of Europe.
Its two busiest airports - Inverness and Sumburgh - recorded growth rates of 9.6 per cent and 10.4 per cent respectively.
Inglis Lyon, managing director of Hial, said the company had enjoyed a good start to the new financial year, adding: “Clearly, last month’s result were less encouraging but we are hopeful that growth will continue.
“Much will depend on the strength of the economy, which is a key driver for business and leisure travel.
“Market conditions are tough but we are punching above our weight compared to other airports in Europe.” Figures released by industry body Airports Council International indicated a slowing of traffic growth across Europe.
Average growth rates of 1.8 per cent were recorded for the first six months of 2012 for airports with less than five million passengers.
Hial’s airports in the Highlands, Northern Isles, Argyll, Dundee and the Hebrides connect to a network of more than 30 destinations in the UK and abroad.
They include Amsterdam, Bergen, Dusseldorf and Zurich.
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