Travellers miss flights due to Royal Highland Show chaos
MORE than 250 people missed flights out of Edinburgh Airport over the weekend due to traffic chaos caused by the Royal Highland Show, The Scotsman can reveal.
Five flights were delayed departing the capital, while hundreds of passengers faced disruption leaving the terminal as taxis and airport buses struggled to get through the Show traffic.
Dozens of extra staff had to be called in by the airport, which warned passengers they would need to leave more than a hour extra for journeys.
Show visitors were diverted to the airport’s own short-stay complex and RBS headquarters at Gogarburn after the event’s main sponsor offered to help resolve a car parking crisis caused by the bad weather.
Airport officials confirmed 254 passengers were affected, and said they will be taking steps to ensure there is no repeat of the situation. They have demanded an urgent summit with show organisers, the police and the city council.
The chaos surrounding the Show – described by sources as the worst for years – was triggered by downpours on Thursday and Friday, which meant one of the main car parks usually used for the event was out of action for much of the weekend.
Despite the bad weather and the traffic problems, the show attracted 161,242 people over the four days, about 20,000 down on last year, but the fifth biggest attendance at the Ingliston site.
A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “The adverse weather that hit the Royal Highland Show at the weekend and resulting traffic issues caused hundreds of passengers to miss their flights and several planes to be delayed. It also caused significant disruption to those passengers arriving at the airport, with buses and taxis struggling to get through the congestion.
“The unprecedented rainfall was beyond anyone’s control and we were glad to assist where we could to avoid a bad situation becoming far worse.
“We have spoken with the organisers of the Royal Highland Show asking for an immediate debrief with it, the council and Lothian and Borders Police so that we can examine what happened at the weekend and how it can be better managed and planned for in the future.”
Royal Highland Show spokesman Ross Muir said: “Lessons will undoubtedly be learned and new things will be put in place for next year as a result of the review of this year’s show, as they are every year.
“However, it’s worth pointing out that we had freak weather conditions on Thursday and Friday and many of the problems we had were down to the west car park being put out of action for a while.”
Show manager David Dunsmuir added: “The horrendous weather on Thursday and Friday presented us with some real challenges, particularly car parking. However, thanks to the co-operation of our neighbours RBS and Edinburgh Airport and a tireless effort by staff, officials, police and other agencies, we were able to keep the show going.
“Considering the amount of rain we had, the showground stood up remarkably well despite the mud, and recent investments on infrastructure such as roads and the main arena paid off.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West