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Earlier News - 2005
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Earlier News - 2005

27 December 05
HIAL Comments on DfT Announcement on Regional Air Access to London
Commenting on the publication of Department for Transport guidance on the protection of regional air services to London, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited said the region must now rise to the challenge of ensuring that services between Inverness and London continue to be well used and sustainable.

With the region currently enjoying the best level of air access to London it has ever had HIAL believes that encouraging use of the routes for business and tourism is the best way to ensure their future success.

There are currently 42 return flights per week between Inverness and London airports: 21 BA CitiExpress to Gatwick; 7 bmi to Heathrow; 7 easyJet to Gatwick and 7 easyJet to Luton. This means that there are 1,600 seats available between Inverness and London every day.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL said: "Air access from Inverness to London is very important for the region's economy and this has been recognised by the DfT, particularly in its decision that any diminishment of service will be examined on a case by case basis. The region has not got everything it asked for in last year's consultation but we understand the reasoning behind DfT's decision and their wish to avoid Government intervention unless air access to London is under imminent threat.

"The outcome is that the region now has a challenge ahead which is to ensure that our existing services continue to flourish and remain good business opportunities for the airlines," said Mr Lyon.

Inverness Airport has achieved major growth in the London market in recent years with easyJet's Gatwick and bmi's Heathrow services joining the long established BA CitiExpress Gatwick and easyJet Luton services. More than 400,000 passengers travelled on these routes in 2004.

Mr Lyon said: "We have good air access to London and it is crucial that we make the most of this opportunity and ensure that it is sustainable. The best way to do this is for the public and private sectors to work together to make this region attractive to both businesses and visitors. Ultimately, a healthy economy and vibrant region will deliver successful air routes, passenger demand and growth. This will ensure that airlines maintain their commitment to operating routes between Inverness and London.

"We must look at the positive aspects of today's announcement and make the most of the great opportunities for the region to make our London routes stimulate more business and tourism. That is where the effort must be concentrated from now on."

8 December 05
Investment at Inverness Airport to Expand Aircraft Parking Stands
Work is set to start on the expansion of aircraft parking space on Inverness Airport's south apron.  The capital investment of circa £1.6 million has been approved by the Board of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.  The expansion of the south apron will accommodate higher volumes of scheduled aircraft at the region's gateway airport. It will increase existing apron capacity by 50% by creating two additional parking stands capable of accommodating aircraft up to Boeing 737 size. This will alleviate current congestion at busy times of the day and enable the airport to accommodate more scheduled traffic with a range of aircraft sizes in the future.  The project is scheduled for completion by summer 2006 and will not interrupt normal airport operations. Inverness Airport manager James Walton said: "Aircraft movements at Inverness have increased by almost 19% in the current year and the addition of two parking stands will serve to meet existing demand, alleviate congestion and enable us to accommodate more scheduled traffic in the future as we continue to develop the airport."
In the year ending 31 March 2005 HIAL's 10 airports handled 1,016,000 passengers and more than 82,500 aircraft movements. Passenger numbers ranged from 6,000 at Tiree to 565,000 at Inverness.

8 December 05
Larger Aircraft Set for Inverness to Manchester and Birmingham Air Routes

Air services between Inverness and Birmingham and Manchester are set for a major enhancement when larger aircraft are introduced on the routes in 2006.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited welcomed the decision by Eastern Airways to increase the capacity on the routes with the introduction of larger aircraft at the end of February - providing almost 1,000 extra seats per week.

The airline will operate a 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft on the Manchester route and a 29-seat Jetstream 41 aircraft on the Birmingham route from the end of February, increasing seat capacity by 65% compared to when the routes originally started.

This will mean that more than 2,500 seats are available every week between the capital of the Highlands and two of the UK's most important business regions.

Eastern operates three return flights a day on both routes Monday to Friday and a single rotation on Sundays. The routes are currently operated with a combination of 29-seat Jetstream 41 and 19-seat Jetstream 31 aircraft.

This is the second enhancement to the routes, following the introduction of J41 aircraft at Inverness in June of this year.  Eastern launched the Manchester service in November 2002 and the Birmingham service in October 2003.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL said: "We are delighted to see continued development on these two important UK regional routes from Inverness. We have an excellent working relationship with Eastern and this is a good example of how routes can de introduced and grown over a relatively short period of time.

"Both routes offer important business connections and allow high value tourist visitors to come into the region. Highland travellers can also access a wide range of onward domestic and international flights via the airports at Birmingham and Manchester."

Graeme Ross, Eastern Airways' Scotland director said: "We are continuing to strengthen the cross-border air links from the Highlands to UK regions and are able to do this because of increasing passenger demand. The additional seating capacity on these routes will allow many more people to enjoy the convenience of air travel between Inverness, Birmingham and Manchester."  For flight information and booking visit the www.easternairways.com website.

Highlands and Islands Air Passengers Continue to Rise
The number of people flying via airports in the north and west of Scotland increased by 12.5% in October compared to a year ago, according to figures released by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. A total of 105,829 passengers used the 10 HIAL airports in the month, compared to 94,036 in October 2004. The seven month running total for the airports now stands at 718,569, 10.2% up on the same period in 2004/05. Nine of HIALís airports are showing year on year growth with Islay the only exception, having handled 142 fewer passengers since 1 April 2005 compared to last year.

2 November 05
HIAL Sets Out Airport Land Development Agenda
Land at airports across the Highlands and Islands is to be made available for commercial and social uses as part of Highlands and Islands Airports' development strategy , it was revealed today.  HIAL, which operates 10 airports in the region, intends to free up non-operational land at its facilities for business and housing
development. The initiative forms part of the company's commitment to supporting economic development and sustainable communities.  Elements of the plan already underway include commercial uses for land at Wick, housing and business development at Stornoway, housing and tourism development at Tiree and the major Inverness Airport Business Park joint venture at the region's largest airport. Discussions with Orkney Islands Council and Orkney Enterprise are also underway regarding land at Kirkwall Airport.

1 November 05
Airport Rail Development Would Benefit Inner Moray Firth Economy
The development of new rail infrastructure between Inverness and Nairn will be crucial to delivering sustainable transport solutions and supporting economic development in the Inner Moray Firth area, according to Highlands and Islands Airports Limited. With significant growth planned for Inverness Airport, Inverness Airport Business Park and proposals for a new community to be developed near Croy, the airport operator believes detailed exploration of the feasibility of creating rail passenger and freight facilities should be explored as part of Scotland's strategic rail priorities. HIAL has raised the issue in its response to the Scottish Executive's current consultation on national rail priorities.

17 October 05
HIAL Reports 10% Passenger Growth in Second Quarter
Total air passenger numbers in the Highlands and Islands have increased by 9.8% in the past six months, according to figures released today by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.  HIALís 10 airports handled 612,740 passengers from 1 April to the end of September compared with 558,024 in 2004/05. Nine of the companyís 10 airports have increased their passengers in the past six months with only Islay showing a small drop of just over 100 passengers over the period.

12 August 05
Record Month for Inverness Airport-
Wick Shows Increase Compared To Last July

Inverness Airport recorded its busiest ever month in July with more than 70,000 passengers travelling through the air hub for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, according to passenger figures published today. The airportís 70,102 passengers represented an 18% increase on July 2004 and a 52% increase on July 2003ís figures. The airport is on target to handle around 700,000 passengers in the year ending 31 March 2006, compared to 565,000 passengers in 2004/05, which will be 95% more passengers than it handled annually at the start of the decade.  A total of 117,960 passengers used the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports during July, a 16% increase on the previous year. The airports at Benbecula, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick all showed year on year growth.

5 August 05
HIAL Terminals to Become Smoke Free Zones
The phased programme of banning smoking in airport terminals in the Highlands and Islands will be completed at the end of August when Inverness Airport terminal becomes a smoke free zone.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, which operates 10 airports in the region, stopped smoking in its terminals at Benbecula and Stornoway in 2002 and since then the ban has rolled out to Barra, Campbletown, Islay, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.

The completion of the smoking ban in public areas of the terminals comes ahead of a Scotland-wide ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces from next March.

Last year the designated smoking areas in the cafeteria and departures lounge at Inverness Airport were removed and the remaining smoking area in the main terminal concourse will be removed at the end of August.

Inverness Airport terminal manager Sheena Mitchell said: "We have discussed this with the airport consultative committee and in light of new legislation due to come into force next year we have decided to remove the remaining public smoking area from the terminal at the end of August."

"This will improve the overall quality of experience for passengers and visitors to the terminal while those who wish to smoke will still have the option to do so in the public area outside the building."

1 August 05
Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd. Publishes 2004/05 Annual Report and Accounts
Growth in passenger numbers, increased revenue and ongoing investment in airport infrastructure are highlighted in the annual report and accounts for 2004/05 published by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.  In the year ending 31 March 2005 HIAL's 10 airports handled almost 1,016,000 passengers and more than 82,500 aircraft movements. Passenger numbers for the year ranged from 6,000 at Tiree to 565,000 at Inverness.

19 July 05
Inverness Airport on Target for Record Month
The success of new scheduled air services and holiday charters are propelling Inverness Airport towards a record number of passengers in July.

The airport handled a record 16,088 passengers last week, including 5,170 passengers at the weekend. During its busiest week ever 2,510 passengers travelled on Saturday with a further 2,660 flying on Sunday on both scheduled services and charters to and from Majorca, Zurich and Verona.

This was the third weekend in a row that Inverness had handled record levels of passengers. A total of 4,900 passengers travelled on 9 and 10 July and 4,400 passengers on 2 and 3 July.

New scheduled services to Belfast and Bristol with easyJet, strong performance on London, UK regional and Scottish domestic flights and a busy programme of holiday charter flights are set to make July the airport's busiest ever month.

The airport, the largest of 10 operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, is on target to handle around 700,000 passengers in the current financial year compared to 565,000 in 2004/05.

More than 330 scheduled flights now operate every week between Inverness and destinations including London (Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton), Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Northern and Western Isles. These are operated by British Airways (BA CitiExpress and franchise partner Loganair), bmi, easyJet, Eastern Airways and Highland Airways.

HIAL's aim is to pursue a long term development strategy at the airport which will deliver new air routes for the region that are sustainable and promote both inbound tourism and good business air links. This will include new services to UK regional centres and direct links into mainland Europe and will ensure that the airport continues to be a key economic driver for the region.

Inglis Lyon, HIAL's managing director, said: "It is fantastic to see the growth at the airport, boosted by the hundreds of additional passengers who are travelling on our newest routes to Belfast and Bristol every day.

"A few years ago not many people would have considered that there would be tens of thousands of people flying between the Highlands and Belfast or Bristol or even Birmingham and Manchester. But as a result of our route development work with airlines in recent years this is what is happening and it is supporting inbound tourism and business links between important regional economies.

"This year Inverness will handle almost twice the amount of passengers it did five years ago. Many factors are playing their part in this, not least the strength of the local economy, people moving back into the region after decades of depopulation and the unique qualities the area offers to tourists from around the world.

"The result is an economic output from the airport of £120 million a year and almost 2,500 full time equivalent jobs supported by the air connectivity it provides.

"Our development plan for Inverness will, crucially, ensure that the airport fulfils its full potential as a business. It will enable us to generate additional revenue to reduce and ultimately eliminate the requirement for subsidy while ensuring the airport continues to develop as a key driver for the regional economy," said Mr Lyon.

12 July 05
Travel Paranoia Over Luggage Beaten By New Service
For people who worry about the safety of their luggage while travelling a new service may take all the hassle out of it.  flymycase.com aims to make transportation of luggage as easy as the trip itself if not easier

11 July 05
Island Games' Competitors Fly into Sumburgh
Sumburgh Airport welcomed flights from across the globe at the weekend as competitors and supporters flew into Shetland for the 2005 NatWest Island Games XI.  A total of 19 charter flights arrived at the airport on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 July, carrying 1,100 passengers from competing islands including Bermuda, the Faeroes, Isle of Man, Jersey, Greenland, Guernsey, Gotland, Gibraltar and the Western Isles. The flights will depart next weekend after the conclusion of the games.

British Airways' franchise partner Loganair has also scheduled additional flights to meet demand for travel to the games which is the largest ever event hosted by the islands.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited became a major sponsor of the games when it pledged £20,000 of funding to the event last October.

The Island Games, organised by the International Island Games Association, take place every two years and involve competitors from 24 member islands worldwide. Member islands include Aland, Alderney, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Faeroe Islands, Froya, Gibraltar, Gotland, Greenland, Guernsey, Hitra, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Orkney, Prince Edward Island, Rhodes, Saaremaa, Sark, Shetland, St Helena, Western Isles and Ynys Mon.

Since the first Island Games in 1985, which were held in the Isle of Man, they have grown in popularity and in stature. This year's games have attracted more than 2,000 competitors.

This year's event has been organised by the Shetland Island Games 2005 Ltd committee and includes competition in disciplines ranging from archery and athletics to gymnastics, sailing and windsurfing.

The airport's passenger numbers will be further boosted during July and August as Norwegian regional airline Wideroe, a division of SAS, operates its twice-weekly flights between Shetland and Oslo as part of its summer timetable.

Nigel Flaws, airport manager at Sumburgh said: "The airport was busy on both Friday and Saturday with charter flights arriving for the games, carrying a total of 1,100 passengers.

"We are delighted to be actively supporting this event which provides a unique opportunity for Shetland to promote itself on the world stage."

11 July 05
All Time Record Weekend at Inverness Airport
Inverness Airport handled 4,900 passengers at the weekend, breaking the previous record 4,400 passenger total set over the weekend of 2 and 3 July.

A combination of scheduled and charter flights saw the Highlands' hub airport handle 2,300 passengers on Saturday 9 and 2,600 on Sunday 10 July.

The soaring passenger numbers were due to the introduction of new daily services to Belfast and Bristol at the beginning of July and holiday charter flights over the weekend to and from Majorca, Verona and Zurich.

easyJet's new Belfast service started on 1 July and the Bristol service on 7 July. The low-cost carrier is also operating an extra return flight on its daily Luton service on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer.

More than 330 scheduled flights operate every week between Inverness and London (Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton), Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Northern and Western Isles. These are operated by British Airways (BA CitiExpress and franchise partner Loganair), bmi, easyJet, Eastern Airways and Highland Airways.

The airport's busiest summer ever means that car parking at the airport is under pressure and people planning to travel over the holiday period are being asked to consider making alternative arrangements to leaving their cars at the airport.

An additional 85 car parking spaces are currently under construction and will be available by the end of July. The airport currently has 550 on site paid for parking spaces.

Inverness Airport manager James Walton said: "We broke all records this weekend with almost 5,000 people travelling through the airport. It is excellent to see that the established and new scheduled services are being well used and that more people are choosing to take holiday charter flights direct from their local airport.

"We expect that July 2005 will be our busiest month ever on record and that the passenger growth over the coming months will bring us to an operating year total of circa 700,000 passengers - more than double the airport's total for six years ago.

"The growth also strengthens our business cases to airlines to introduce new routes and services that will benefit the region, its communities and economy," said Mr Walton.

5 July 05
easyJet Launches New Route from Inverness to Belfast
easyJet, the UK's largest low cost airline launches flights from Inverness to Belfast.

Single fares start from £12.99 with return fares available from £30.98. The service operates with one return flight a day seven days a week.

In true easyJet style there will be celebrations at the airport and passengers checking in for the inaugural flight will be welcomed with typical Northern Irish hospitality and entertainment.

The daily service which commences today in addition to the new service to Bristol which commences on 7th July sees the low cost carrier doubling the number of routes it offers from Inverness Airport. easyJet's new routes will bring further opportunities for business and tourism in the Highlands by providing low cost travel to a market which has historically been dominated by the traditional, high cost airlines.

Helen Dolce, easyJet marketing manager for Scotland said: "We are delighted to bring low cost services to Belfast from Inverness. This new route is the first direct service between Northern Ireland and the Highlands and is expected to help boost business links and tourism in the region."

easyJet has been encouraged by the response from consumers from Inverness and Belfast and expects to carry over 85,000 passengers in the first 12 months. The route has proved popular with business and leisure travellers alike, providing easier, low cost access to the Northern Ireland capital.

Next week more celebrations will take place at the launch of Inverness to Bristol. Single fares on the Bristol service start at £17.99 and £35.98 return. The service will operate one daily return flight seven days a week.

easyJet has also teamed up with Moray Firth Radio to give listeners the chance to win flights to both of easyJet's new destinations over the next two weeks.

Alex Johnson, commercial and marketing manager for Highlands and Islands Airports said: "The new routes are good news for the Highlands and will bring tens of thousands of new visitors into the region over the coming months. This will be good for the economy and direct air links also make the region more attractive for businesses and inward investors.

"People in the Highlands will be able to fly direct to these new destinations and make onward international flight connections via Belfast and Bristol to destinations throughout Europe and beyond."

For flight information and booking visit the www.easyjet.com  website.

17 June 05
Summer Sees Inverness-Luton Air Links Doubled
Double daily weekend flights between Inverness and Luton took off at the weekend as part of easyJet's summer timetable for the Highland's hub airport.

easyJet is operating two return flights on the route on Saturdays and Sundays from now until the end of its summer timetable. The move doubles the capacity on the route and will bring thousands of additional visitors into the Highlands over the coming months.

Alex Johnson, commercial and marketing manager at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited said: "easyJet introduced double daily weekend flights on Saturday and these will run right through until the start of the winter schedules at the end of October. This will boost passenger numbers at Inverness and bring thousands of extra visitors into the region in the months ahead.

"Inverness' London routes to Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton accounted for 80% of the airport's total passengers last year and it is still a growing market for us. It is excellent to see easyJet adding capacity for the busy summer season ahead which will really take off in July when the airline introduces its daily services to Belfast and Bristol."

Inverness Airport manager James Walton added: "easyJet's additional summer flights on the Luton route have proved very popular in previous years and they will help bring the airport to its 700,000 passenger target in the current operating year."

For flight information and booking visit the www.easyjet.com  website.

29 May 05
North Airports Predict Growth in Coming Months
Almost 82,500 passengers travelled via the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited in April 2005, representing a 1% drop on April 2004ís total.
The airports at Barra, Benbecula, Stornoway, Tiree and Wick all recorded passenger growth in the month.
The 10 airports handled 7,484 aircraft movements, nearly 18% more than in April last year.
Inglis Lyon, HIALís managing director said: ďThe first month of the 2005/06 operating year shows a small drop in total passengers of around 700 compared to April 2004. The growth we predict for this year will start in June when Eastern Airways increase frequency and capacity on their Wick and Inverness routes followed by the introduction of easyJetís daily services to Belfast and Bristol in July.

29 May 05
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Maureen Macmillan has questioned Transport Minister Nicol Stephen in the Scottish Parliament over the use of Public Service Obligations in the Highlands and Islands.

Speaking last week Mrs Macmillan said, "I asked the Transport Minister whether the use of PSOs will be extended to cover additional air routes in our area and if he agreed that PSOs were the best method of securing affordable air travel. I was delighted with the Minister's reply as I have been campaigning on issues surround travel in peripheral areas since the inception of the parliament. He acknowledged that the suitable use of PSOs is crucial to the delivery of improved and affordable air services in the Highlands & Islands and agreed that the best method of securing affordable air travel is through PSOs, which give control over the specification and timetables.The Minister added that the work on PSOs is now being completed and the £12 million required represents a sound investment in the economy and social fabric of those fragile areas."

Mrs Macmillan continued, "This was a very encouraging response from the Transport Minister. PSOs have the ability to make a considerable difference economically in the peripheral areas of the Highlands and Islands. Affordable air fares, particularly on inter-island routes, are essential if recently reported economic gains are to be sustained and improved further.

I am aware that following a recent meeting with the Transport Minister, HITRANS were not convinced of his support. It is, however, now abundantly clear that the Executive is totally committed to PSOs and I am pleased that the campaigning by myself and HITRANS has been successful.

This is very good news for communities such as Orkney, Shetland and Wick. The routes will be 'bundled' prior to tendering and fares are likely to be cut by about a third. This will result in greater passenger usage, boosting the income available for re-investing. I look forward to seeing the PSOs put into practical effect."

25 May 05
HIAL Welcomes Increased Frequency and Capacity on Eastern Airways'
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited today (Tuesday 24 May) welcomed Eastern Airways' decision to add an additional weekday flight to its Aberdeen-Wick service and introduce a larger aircraft to its Birmingham and Manchester services from Inverness.

From Tuesday 7 June the regional airline will operate four return flights a day between Caithness and Aberdeen and introduce a larger Jetstream 41 aircraft on some of its cross-border Inverness flights.

Alex Johnson, commercial and marketing manager with Highlands and Islands Airports said: "We are delighted that Eastern is both increasing frequency on its Wick-Aberdeen service and adding more capacity on its services from Inverness. Both moves will support growth in passenger traffic at the airports and open up more opportunities for inbound and outbound travellers.

"Eastern is now a well-established presence in the region's air network and it is encouraging to see them continuing to invest in expanding their services at our airports."

Eastern Airways' Scotland director Graeme Ross commented: "Since we based an aircraft at Wick and revised the timetable in February, there has been a marked increase in passenger numbers, both in terms of the Wick - Aberdeen route as well as in connecting traffic via our network out of Aberdeen.

"To improve connectivity even further, we are adding a fourth rotation each weekday, as well as extending the working day for passengers travelling in either direction. The improved service offers travellers access to 35 connections each way, 24 of which are with Eastern."

In a further improvement to Eastern's North of Scotland operation, from the 7th June the larger and faster Jetstream 41 aircraft will be based at Inverness to allow additional passenger capacity on the 0705 and 1630 flights to Manchester and the 1140 flight to Birmingham.

Mr Ross added. "As well as being able to offer a significant increase in capacity on these routes these two developments further underline our commitment to the North of Scotland."

FROM WICK TO ABERDEEN (from Tuesday 7th June)
Days of Operation Departing Arriving
Mon - Fri 0700 0735
Mon - Fri 1035 1110
Mon - Fri 1440 1515
Mon - Fri 1745 1820

Days of Operation Departing Arriving
Mon - Fri 0920 0955
Mon - Fri 1225 1300
Mon - Fri 1645 1720
Mon - Fri 1955 2030

25 May 05
Flights From Wick To Inverness To Cease
Flights between Wick and Inverness will cease to operate in June due to lack of demand.  Unlike the increased demand for seats to Aberdeen the service introduced last year by Eastern Airways has failed to attract sufficient passengers.

27 April 05
New TV Campaign Promoting Inverness Air Services
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has launched a new television advertising campaign to promote the expanding range of scheduled air services available from its largest airport at Inverness. Inverness Airport Information

The advert, which is running on Grampian Television throughout the region, features birds representing airlines taking off and landing on the branches of a tree and includes the slogan "Inverness Airport, we're branching out".

The airport handled a record 565,000 passengers in the year ending 31 March and easyJet is set to launch two new daily flights, to Belfast and Bristol, at the beginning of July.

Inverness airport already handles more than 300 scheduled flights per week to destinations including Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton airports in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Wick, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh. Airline operators include bmi, British Airways and franchise partner Loganair, easyJet, Eastern Airways and Highland Airways.

Figures released earlier this week by the Civil Aviation Authority show that Inverness was the fastest growing Scottish airport in the calendar year 2004 with growth of 20% from 1 January to 31 December.

Alex Johnson, HIAL's commercial and marketing manager said: "Our previous TV campaign raised awareness of the choice of services available from Inverness. With new flights coming on stream we are keen to ensure that as many people as possible within the region take advantage of the enhanced air connections available from their local hub airport."

James Walton, Inverness airport manager added: "The year ahead will be our busiest ever at Inverness and bookings are already strong for easyJet's new Bristol and Belfast services that start in July. The new TV campaign will ensure that as many people as possible start and end their journeys at the airport."

18 March 05
Green Light for New Inverness Airport Access Road
Plans for the construction of a new access road linking Inverness Airport and the A96 are set to go ahead following the successful outcome of negotiations with Network Rail.

Work is expected to start on the construction of the road shortly. The new road will improve the integration of transport within the Highlands by linking Inverness Airport to the trunk road network and thus enhancing the links from air services to the bus and rail services in Inverness. The Highland Council expects to let the contract for the construction of the road soon.

The £4 million road and associated access infrastructure is being funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme 2000-2006, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited and The Highland Council. In addition to vastly improving surface access to the rapidly expanding airport it will also unlock the development potential of land surrounding the airport site.

Bob Macleod, managing director of HIAL said: "We are delighted that construction of the new access road can now begin. The airport's passengers have increased by 18% this year and improved surface access will be of benefit to all airport users. It is also a significant step forward to realising the ambitious Inverness Airport Business Park project in conjunction with our joint venture partners."

Councillor Charlie King, chair of The Highland Council's Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee said: "I am delighted that agreement had now been reached with Network Rail and that all the statutory procedures are now in place clearing the way for an award of contract on the new access road. The agreement with Network Rail will allow the airport to get an access road befitting its status as the key air hub of the Highlands and Islands."

Stuart Black, chief executive of INE, said: "This is a significant step towards us developing this strategic site and maximising its full economic potential for Inverness and the Highlands. The airport business park development will be particularly attractive to potential inward investors looking to locate in this area."

17 February 05
HIALís Airports on Target for One Million Passengers
The January 2005 passenger figures from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that more than 66,000 passengers used the companyís 10 airports in the month, a 7.6% increase on January 2004.  Total passengers for the 10 months of the 2004/05 operating year stand at 868,339, a 10.1% increase on the same period in 2003/04.  Inverness continues to be the fastest developing airport in the region with passenger growth of 19.4% in the current year. The airports at Barra, Campbeltown, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Tiree have also increased their passenger numbers in the year compared to 2003/04.  Wick airport figures are down.

18 January 05
Strong Passenger Growth to End of Third Quarter
The December passenger figures from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that 73,000 passengers used the companyís 10 airports in the month, a 7% increase on December 2003.  Total passengers at the end of the third quarter in the operating year 2004/05 stood at 802,013, a 10.4% increase on the first nine months of 2003/04.

2003 - 2004