EXTRA FLIGHTS to London helped boost passenger numbers at Scotland’s main airports last month.
Glasgow Airport had its busiest November in seven years with almost 575,000 passengers travelling through its doors.
The numbers are an 11.8% increase compared to the same month last year and mark a 22nd consecutive month of growth, the airport said.
Extra British Airways flights to London City and a new Ryanair London Stansted service are said to have helped the increase, along with extra capacity in United, KLM and Icelandair flights.
Scotland’s busiest airport, Edinburgh, also saw an increase in passengers, with more than 700,000 people travelling through the terminal last month.
Extra flights to London by British Airways and Flybe were identified as the reason for the increase, which was up 4.3% on last year.
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The airport hopes to have catered for 10 million passengers by the end of the year.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We’re entering this festive season in a good position after recording strong passenger traffic in November.
“We’re expecting about 130,000 passengers to travel through our airport during the Christmas week alone and we’re confident that we’ll hit our 10 million passenger mark for a calendar year around about this time as well.”
Airports could see further growth with the devolution of air passenger duty to Scotland, which was recommended by the Smith Commission last month.
Devolving the tax could lead to cheaper flights and an increase in passengers, operators believe.
Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “November was an exceptionally busy month and it was our success in securing new routes that enabled us to record double-digit growth.
“We committed significant investment throughout 2014 in enhancing our facilities and we’re currently investing £3 million in extending one of our three piers in order to accommodate the services we have been consistently adding.
“We’re now looking forward to what promises to be a busy festive period after which our attention will turn to building on what was a hugely successful 2014 for the airport and Scotland as a whole.
“With events such as the World Gymnastics Championships, the Davis Cup, the European Judo Championships and the Turner Prize already lined up, 2015 is set to be yet another bumper year for Glasgow.”
Aberdeen Airport catered for almost 300,000 passengers, with an increase in flights and helicopter operations servicing the oil industry.
Managing director Carol Benzie said: “I am delighted to look back over 2014 and see growth across the board in every month.
“We are hopeful that the numbers for December, when they are released, will make equally positive reading and will show we have had a full year of steady growth.
“2014 has been full of highlights. These include the introduction of new routes such as Faro and Geneva, which starts on Saturday, plus airline developments including Flybe picking up the London City flights and re-establishing their Aberdeen base.”
The north-east airport has made a number of upgrades this year but Ms Benzie said 2015 “won’t be without its challenges”.
“We watch developments on the international markets with interest, in particular if the decline in the oil price continues,” she added.
“We also know that as work ramps up on our terminal transformation project we will face operational hurdles to keep the passenger flow running smoothly.
“We are looking forward to starting the New Year under the umbrella of new ownership and are excited about what the coming 12 months will bring.”
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