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Passenger Numbers In Highland - September 2008
HIAL Airports’ Q2 Results Show 2% Passenger Growth
The total number of passengers using airports in the Highlands and Islands has increased by 2% in the past six months compared to the previous year, according to the latest figures published.
Passenger throughput for the 10 airports in the region operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited was 711,905 for the six months to the end of September.
Total aircraft movements for the airports in the same period increased by 3.8% to 58,191.
The six-month figures for Dundee Airport shows a running total of 35,195 passengers, -7.9%, and 20,473 aircraft movements, -5.5%.
The position for the HIAL group of airports to the end of the second quarter in 2008/09 reflects ongoing challenges in the aviation market created by fuel costs and economic factors.
Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL, said performance for the summer had been good despite unprecedented difficulties in the aviation industry and wider economy.
Recent developments also indicate a positive trend for the airports in 2009 with Loganair due to increase its Sumburgh – Bergen flights and introduce a Kirkwall – Bergen service. Charter operators Discover Jersey, Newmarket Holidays and Thomson have put their 2009 programmes from Inverness on sale in recent weeks. HIAL also expects to confirm a direct link from Inverness to Germany for 2009 at the end of this month.
“In overall terms performance to the end of September has been good with year on year growth of 2% in total passenger numbers for our 10 airports in the Highlands and Islands,” said Mr Lyon.
“Within this context, however, we recognise that the current aviation climate is very difficult due to a combination of fuel prices impacting on airlines’ operations and wider economic factors creating uncertainty in demand for travel. Our airports are not immune from these industry-wide factors with Dundee, where traffic to date is down on last year, being a case in point.
“The focus for us, as we move into the traditionally lower traffic levels of the winter months, is to work with the airlines to support their routes and ensure that the scheduled network continues to provide essential air connectivity to the Highlands and Islands and Tayside. The priority is for routes to be maintained and if this means alterations to frequency in the winter then that is something we have to accept as the airlines have to react according to the market conditions they face.
“Notwithstanding that all UK airports face a hard winter, recent announcements have brought some positive news for the network in terms of service developments for 2009 which will create new opportunities to grow business and leisure traffic,” said Mr Lyon.
* Dundee Airport transferred to HIAL from Dundee City Council on 1 December 2007. The airport is operated by HIAL via a wholly owned subsidiary company, Dundee Airport Limited.