Record year for air passengers at Highlands and Islands airports

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A record number of passengers travelled through Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) last year.

Figures show more than 1.78 million people used the group’s 11 airports in 2017/18.

A plan comes in to land on the beach at Barra. Pic: Contributed

A plan comes in to land on the beach at Barra. Pic: Contributed

The number is 112,000 up on the previous year with particular growth at Sumburgh Airport (17.9%), Barra (9.3%), Kirkwall (9.1%) and Islay (8.4%).

Inverness passenger numbers increased by almost 47,000 with flights to London and Amsterdam boosting passenger numbers.

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HIAL expects further growth at Inverness this year with Loganair and TUI introducing new routes to Majorca and Bergen.

The only HIAL airports to see a decline in passengers were Dundee - down 43.4% due to the loss of an Amsterdam flight - and Wick John O’Groats where numbers fell 16.8% due in part to a reduction in demand from energy sector services to and from Aberdeen.

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HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “Overall, the past year has been another of significant growth in passenger figures across the HIAL group, this highlights the customer demand for our air services and the continued support and connectivity they provide for communities.”

The company’s annual results for 2017/18 will be announced later this year.