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Last Updated: Monday, 7 May 2007, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Smaller airport numbers sky high
Inside Stornoway Airport
Stornoway saw a 6% increase in passenger numbers
The firm which runs many of Scotland's smaller airports has recorded another significant jump in passenger numbers.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) said 1,232,782 used its 10 airports in the past year, a rise of about 80,000 on the previous 12 months.

HIAL said its annual passenger numbers had risen by 57% since 2000/01.

It pointed to increased frequency of scheduled flights, new routes and the introduction of a government fares discount scheme for island residents.

HIAL said Inverness, the largest of its airports, saw its busiest ever year, with almost 700,000 passengers.

The company has introduced new routes to Benbecula, Belfast City, Dublin, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, Nottingham East Midlands and Southampton airports.

The real beneficiaries of this are the people who live and work in or visit our region for business or leisure - the people who have had better access to air services in the past 12 months
David Sutherland
HIAL chairman

Passenger numbers at Kirkwall in Orkney were up by 17%, with 6% increases in Stornoway in the Western Isles and Sumburgh in Shetland.

HIAL said the number of passengers travelling to Islay rose by 26%.

Loganair has introduced more flights and Sunday services between the island and Glasgow and Kirkwall.

However, there was a 1.3% fall in passenger numbers at Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsular.

HIAL also airports at Barra, Benbecula, Tiree and Wick.

'Positive contribution'

Chairman David Sutherland said: "A lot of hard work on the part of the airlines, stakeholders and the team at HIAL under the chairmanship of my predecessor Sandy Matheson has gone into achieving a very good result for the year.

"The real beneficiaries of this are the people who live and work in or visit our region for business or leisure - the people who have had better access to air services in the past 12 months.

"Our focus will remain ensuring that we improve our efficiency as a business while making a positive contribution to the local economy and communities as part of an effective transport network for the Highlands and Islands."

The Scottish Executive launched its Air Discount Scheme in 2006, with those living in the Northern and Western Isles, Islay, Jura and Caithness eligible.


SEE ALSO
Council to make airport complaint
24 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Airport's master plan published
07 Dec 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Airport firm sets out future aims
13 Aug 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Isles air fares scheme takes off
18 May 06 |  Scotland

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