Highlands and Islands Airports observes recovery in passenger numbers
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has witnessed a positive recovery in passenger numbers, approaching pre-pandemic levels.
For the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, the group reported a robust 10.4% increase year-on-year. Between April and June 2023, 425,222 passengers travelled via key HIAL airports, an increase from 385,196 during the corresponding period in 2022/23. This represents 87.3% of the pre-COVID-19 levels seen in 2019/20.
The most significant growth was seen at Inverness Airport, which noted a 17.6% rise in passenger numbers, reaching 240,631. Similarly, Campbeltown, Islay, and Tiree airports saw notable increases of 17.1%, 14.1%, and 10.0% respectively. Other airports such as Kirkwall, Barra, Benbecula, and Wick John O’ Groats also reported positive growth ranging from 4.4% to 29.5%.
However, slight decreases in passenger numbers were observed at Stornoway, Sumburgh, and Dundee airports. The reductions ranged from 0.3% to 0.6% and Dundee saw a drop from 10,435 passengers in the previous year to 9,688 in the current period.
George Farquhar, director of airport operations for HIAL, said: “Leading into what is a hugely important 2023 tourist season, the new figures are encouraging and highlight the key role our people and airports continue to play to the Highland economy in providing vital connections to and from our iconic Highlands & Islands destinations.
“With almost 1.5 million people having passed through our 11 airports across the Highlands and Islands over the past 12 months, the economies in each of those areas will have benefited significantly from the added investment and spending they bring with them.”