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Caithness News Bulletins August 2003

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Air Passenger Growth Continues in Highlands and Islands

The month of July saw strong passenger growth continue at airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports limited.

Passengers across the company’s 10 airports were up 9.9% to 90,285, amounting to almost 8,000 extra air travellers compared to the same month last year.

The running total for the current year starting on 1 April 2003 now stands at 329,915, up by more than 28,000 on 2002-2003.

The largest year on year passenger growth for July was at Inverness with 16.7% and Stornoway with 21.2%. Passenger numbers at Campbeltown also increased by 14.4% while the airports at Benbecula, Islay Kirkwall and Tiree have also seen passenger traffic growth.

Oil industry traffic at Sumburgh Airport in Shetland grew by 48.8% in July this year compared to July 2002 with 2,410 passengers compared to 1,620 last year.

Total aircraft movements, including scheduled, charter, executive, general aviation and military flights have also grown, up 7% in July across the 10 airports to a running total of 28,532 for the current year.

Bob Macleod, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports said the latest figures reflected the increasing economic and social importance of air travel in the region.

“Our market and customer focused commercial strategy is paying dividends and has given the travelling public more options in terms of destinations and services, including scheduled flights and outbound holiday charters,” said Mr Macleod.

“The latest figures reveal growth in excess of industry forecasts and are extremely good news for the region and its businesses with the tourism and leisure sectors undoubtedly deriving benefits from many of the inbound journeys made during July.

“These statistics also strengthen our work to bring more new routes and services on line at our hub airports and send a message to new and potential customer airlines that there is a high propensity to travel by air in the region.

“It is also encouraging to see that oil-related traffic at Sumburgh is beginning to show signs of recovery after a very slow period for the offshore industry. Attracting more of this traffic to Sumburgh is a key target for us and the airport’s strategic location and excellent facilities mean that it is well placed to cater for more oil industry traffic, especially en route from Aberdeen to offshore installations.”

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited manages and operates 10 airports in the North and West of Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Executive. The airports range from the principal hubs at Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh to those at Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Islay, Tiree and Wick.

The company is responsible for providing airport infrastructure, facilitating lifeline air links, developing air traffic in the region and promoting economic sustainability and social inclusion in Scotland’s remoter communities.

In year ending 31 March 2003 the company’s 10 airports handled more than 864,000 passengers and over 76,000 aircraft movements.

HIAL July 2003 Passenger Figures

Airports Monthly Total June 2003 Monthly Total June 2002 Monthly Total % Difference
Barra 1,017 1,068 -4.8
Benbecula 3,277 3,263 +0.4
Campbeltown 820 717 +14.4
Inverness 46,012 39,413 +16.7
Islay 1,969 1,913 +2.9
Kirkwall 10,561 10,474 +0.8
Stornoway 9,887 8,155 +21.2
Sumburgh non-oil 11,287 12,465 -9.5
Tiree 550 528 +4.2
Wick 2,495 2,515 -0.8
Total non-oil 87,875 80,511 +9.1
Sumburgh oil 2,410 1,620 +48.8
Total Passengers 90,285 82,131 +9.9

2003-2004 running total stats.

HIAL Passenger Figures for 2003-2004

Airports Running Total 2003/2004 Running Total 2002/2003 Running Total % Difference
Barra 3,504 3,408 +2.8
Benbecula 11,859 11,692 +1.4
Campbeltown 3,123 3,010 +3.8
Inverness 168,885 142,580 +18.4
Islay 8,218 8,579 -4.2
Kirkwall 40,296 39,193 +2.8
Stornoway 37,497 30,745 +22
Sumburgh non-oil 38,844 41,447 -6.3
Tiree 1,868 1,906 -2
Wick 10,296 10,224 +0.7
Total non-oil 324,390 292,784 +10.8
Sumburgh oil 5,525 8,914 -38
Total Passengers 329,915 301,698 +9.4

Earlier Air Services Items
Regulatory Burden - June 2003

Air Traffic Up In Highland May 2003
HIAL Letter Regarding Speculation about Wick Airport February 2003