SCOTLAND’S regional airport operator HIAL handled 84,981 passengers in January, up 9.1 per cent on the same month last year.
Growth in energy-related fixed wing and helicopter traffic, particularly at Sumburgh and Wick, is the main reason for the big increase.
Latest figures from airport group HIAL shows numbers at Sumburgh went up almost 70%, by 7,304 to 17,860.
Wick’s figures almost doubled, rising by 2,003 to 4,124.
At Kirkwall, passenger numbers grew by 1,498 as a result of increased demand for services to Sumburgh and the mainland.
Barra, Benbecula and Stornoway airports also recorded an increase in passenger numbers.
However, passenger numbers fell at Inverness, Campbeltown, Dundee, Islay and Tiree, largely as a result of schedule changes and fewer aircraft movements.
In the year to date (April 2012-January 2013), passenger numbers across the group increased by 3%, with Sumburgh, Wick John O’Groats and Barra the fastest growing, with growth of 18%, 12% and 11.2% respectively.
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL said: “These figures represent a good start to 2013, not least in our most northerly airports where increased energy activity is fuelling a significant increase in business traffic and helicopter movements.
“Elsewhere in the group, growth was more modest, partly a reflection of winter schedule changes. Nevertheless, the overall trend shows that growth is continuing, which is obviously encouraging given the still fragile nature of the economy.”
The January passenger totals were:
• BARRA 574 (+2.1%)
• BENBECULA 2,456 (+0.1%)
• CAMPBELTOWN 656 (-19.1%)
• DUNDEE 2,186 (-47.4%)
• INVERNESS 35,213 (-3.2%)
• ISLAY 1,465 (-19.9%)
• KIRKWALL 10,965 (+15.8%)
• STORNOWAY 8,909 (+0.3%)
• SUMBURGH 17,860 (+69.2%)
• TIREE 573 (-13.2%)
• WICK JOHN O’GROATS 4,124 (+94.4%)