Highlands and Islands Airports report record breaking rises

REGIONAL airport operator Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) has reported another period of increased passenger numbers at its 11 airports across Scotland, welcoming a total of 477,612 customers between April and June 2017. The latest record breaking figures show an increase of 55,934 passengers compared to the same quarter in 2016 '“ up by 13.3%.Highlights include a 17.6% increase at Inverness Airport, an 18% rise in passengers at Barra and 26.4% growth in numbers at Islay, thanks to an additional daily service from Glasgow which began in April.READ MORE: {http://www.scotsman.com/news/scapa-flow-visitor-centre-and-museum-wins-refurbishment-funding-1-4512669|Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum wins refurbishment funding}The figures at Inverness Airport reached 246,965 for the quarter, further illustrating the airport's popularity and increasingly important role as a driver for the Highland region and economy. More than 36,900 passengers used the airport, compared to the figures for the same period in 2016, due to increased numbers on the Heathrow, Amsterdam, Birmingham, Gatwick and Luton routes.In May 2017, Dutch operator KLM, increased the frequency of its flights from Inverness to Amsterdam from one to two per day. The additional flight provides an early morning departure time that offers increased options for Highland travellers to connect via Schiphol to the rest of the world. Sumburgh Airport welcomed 100,623 passengers during the period - 15% more than in 2016, with further evidence of growth in the oil and gas sector and an increase in offshore traffic, while Kirkwall's numbers grew to 53,797 as a direct result of the new weekly service to Bergen, Norway.Strong tourist demand on flights from Glasgow to Barra, Benbecula, Stornoway and Tiree saw increases in passenger numbers at these airports, with growth in numbers travelling to the islands during the Easter holiday period in April.Robust figures were recorded at nine of the organisation's 11 airports across Scotland. HIAL Managing

KLM at Inverness Airport. Picture: Supplied

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