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Earlier News - 2007
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Earlier News - 2007

3 December 07
£2 Million Runway Resurfacing Completed at Tiree Airport
 £2 million project to resurface the main runway at Tiree Airport in the Inner Hebrides has been completed. Tiree is one of the smaller of 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited and handled 7,500 passengers last year. The airport supports a scheduled air link to Glasgow operated by Loganair under a Scottish Government funded Public Service Obligation.

Work to resurface the main runway started in September and posed a considerable logistical challenge to the main contractor Colas.

Some 20,000 tonnes of aggregates and 1,000 tonnes of bitumen were transported to the island to resurface the 72,000m2 runway during the project. Aggregates were transported by barge while the bitumen reached the island on the regular CalMac ferry service.

During the initial project mobilisation phase a ferry was chartered to move plant to the site which included paving machinery, tippers, on-site testing laboratory and one of the largest mobile asphalt plans in the UK with a production capacity of 225 tonnes per hour.

Completion of the project provides a more suitable runway surface for the increasing use of Saab 340 aircraft for scheduled flights.

The project formed part of HIAL's rolling capital programme which aims to maintain fit for purpose infrastructure at its 10 airports. The works were programmed to avoid any interruption to the scheduled flights.

HIAL's Infrastructure Services manager Grant Dudgeon said: "The runway infrastructure at Tiree is more than 60 years old but now provides a more even surface, better drainage and improved braking action for aircraft as result of our investment."

20 August 07
HIE Explores Demand For Flights To Poland
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is to explore the potential demand for a new air service between Poland and Inverness. The online survey at www.hie.co.uk/poland-flights 
Przejdź do wypełniania ankiety will help HIE determine how many people would use the service and how often they would do so.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise – agencja rozwoju regionalnego na region Szkocji Północnej – przeprowadza badanie zapotrzebowania na bezpośrednie połączenia lotnicze pomiędzy Polską i Inverness. Celem badania jest zebranie informacji na temat ilości potencjalnych pasażerów oraz częstotliwości planowanych podróży.

While a significant number of Polish people are located in Inverness, they are also distributed across the wider Highlands and Islands around key manufacturing and tourism employers.

The Polish community in the Highlands and Islands regularly take trips home, as well as friends and family coming over to visit them throughout the year. Equally many Scots from the Highlands and Islands are expressing growing interest in that part of Europe in relation to tourist visits as well as business expansion.

The information gathered from the online survey will be passed on to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) and to airlines who may be interested in developing new routes and services.

Anna Kociolek, HIE's Eastern European officer said: "HIE is keen to develop enhanced links with Eastern European countries as part of our strategic objectives to develop global connections and population growth. We want to encourage people to fill in the online form and pass on the information to friends and family so we can make this a success."

The survey takes less than five minutes to complete, and is open to anyone who would use a new air service, whether they are currently living in Poland or the UK. Both Polish and English-language versions are available. It is available online for four weeks until 14 September at www.hie.co.uk/poland-flights
Przejdź do wypełniania ankiety

The results of the survey will be published afterwards at the same web address.

20 August 07
London drops from 7th position in July 2006 to 15th in July 2007
Cheapflights Ltd., the leading UK and North American internet media travel company, which pioneered online flight price search and comparison in 1996, has analysed the number of clicks that were made by users searching for flight deals to London in July 2006 and 2007 on its US site
www.cheapflights.com. Whilst the Cheapflights.com's July 2007 traffic numbers have grown strongly over July 2006, both overall and for London, the city's much lower destination ranking demonstrates the dramatic effect the dollar's weakness has had on US air travel to the UK.

In July 2006 London was ranked the 7th most popular destination for which deals were sought on Cheapflights US site. In July 2007, that ranking dropped sharply out of the top ten destinations to number 15. This follows the US dollar's significant decline against the Pound year on year. According to the US Federal Reserve's monthly average exchange rate for July 2006 the Dollar stood at 1.8433: In July 2007, the average exchange rate was 2.0355 which has clearly deterred potential US tourists from coming to the UK.

Normally the top main destinations sought by Cheapflights' US users are seasonally stable with little variation. Predictably these are the leisure destinations of Las Vegas (1), Orlando (2) and Atlanta (6) and the business destinations of New York (3), Chicago (4), and Los Angeles (6). London's drop from its normal 7th position to 15th is very unusual and likely linked to the increased expense of travel driven by rising exchange rates against the Dollar.


July 2006


July 2007


Las Vegas


Las Vegas






New York


New York








Los Angeles


Los Angeles









Commenting, Chris Cuddy, Cheapflights' Group Managing Director said:

"Cheapflights' record traffic last year reflects the fact that travellers are able find and compare more flights deals from more flights providers than anywhere else on the web. When our users search for cheap flight deals, tourist destinations are a major component as our table shows. London is a perennial favourite destination for US citizens; however the unfavourable exchange rate has made the UK an expensive choice as the current comparative rankings clearly show!"

Francesca Ecsery, General Manager, Cheapflights.co.uk added: "For our UK users, New York is consistently the number one destination searched for on our UK site, Cheapflights.co.uk. With the cheap Dollar, it is therefore not surprising that the Dollar's weakness has caused a 38% surge in traffic searching for deals to America's first city compared to July 2006 a year ago. Similarly the Pound's relative strength against the Euro has seen interest by price sensitive Brits for flights to Alicante, Malaga and Tenerife up from a year ago by between 50 and 60%."

In April 2007, Cheapflights launched in Canada www.cheapflights.ca
Cheapflights does not sell any flight deals or travel products. Each day, it sorts millions of flight prices from hundreds of travel partners worldwide. It then publishes a filtered current list of the best deals. These deals can be accessed online or by telephone direct with the advertiser from links or information on the site.

3 August 07
Master Plan Sets out Vision for Inverness Airport's Growth
A 25-year master plan showing how growth can be accommodated at the largest airport in the Highlands was published today. Inverness Airport is forecast to be handling up to 1.8 million passengers a year by 2030 and currently generates an estimated £130 million a year for the region's economy. Passenger numbers at Inverness have doubled since 1999 to 700,000 in 2006/07 and could reach one million by the end of the decade.

The master plan sets out how future growth can be accommodated on the airport site through infrastructure investment including an expansion to the existing terminal building and the development of additional apron capacity. Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has already made multi-million pound investment in the past two years to increase aircraft parking capacity and car parking on the Dalcross site. The airport is also developing its own radar facility which will be completed in autumn next year.

HIAL's long term aim is to ensure that scheduled and general aviation activity can continue to grow at the airport alongside possible increases in air freight activity. Inglis Lyon, managing director of HIAL said: "The airport is a key wealth generator for the region. Access to more direct air services in recent years has been important to making our area a more attractive place in which to live, work and invest. "Our aim is to continue to develop new routes to UK and international destinations in the years ahead and the master plan sets out how this will be accommodated at Inverness with investment in infrastructure.

"With appropriate phasing and investment there is no reason why we cannot both develop the airport for the benefit of the region and improve its performance as a business. "With significant population growth and economic activity at Inverness Airport Business Park forecast for the coming years it is clear that the airport is going to be an increasingly important transport asset for the Highlands and Inner Moray Firth," said Mr Lyon.

Copies of the master plan can be downloaded from the Inverness Airport HERE

The Future of Air Transport - Published in 2003

18 July 07
Called Off
Highland Airports To Be Hit By Strike Action On Monday 30th July 2007

Talks today to avert industrial action by members of Unite at Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd have failed after the trades union rejected the company’s offer to go to conciliation and mediation with ACAS. Offers by the company’s senior management to address staff at all HIAL’s airports on the issue of pay and to work with the union on achieving greater flexibility in pay deals for future years were also rejected. Unite members will now stage 24 hours of industrial action on Monday 30 July and every subsequent Monday until resolution. This action will cause major disruption to air services in the region on 30 July which will effect circa 4,000 passengers. HIAL employs 320 members of staff across its 10 airports and head office at: Barra; Benbecula,; Campbeltown; Inverness; Islay; Kirkwall; Stornoway; Sumburgh; Tiree and Wick.

9 July 07
Region's Busiest Airport Moves to Independent Radar Provision
For the first time in its history, Inverness Airport is providing its own radar service to aircraft at the busiest airport in the Highlands and Islands.

The completion of phase one of the radar project sees HIAL's own radar controllers providing air traffic services to flights at Inverness using radar data supplied by RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Kinloss.

Last month HIAL awarded a seven figure contract for the development of the airport's own radar head which will become operational in autumn 2008 and see the airport completely self sufficient in local radar provision.

Since 1999, local radar services have been provided by controllers at RAF Lossiemouth via an agreement between National Air Traffic Services and the MoD. The HIAL service now operating will continue to use data feeds from the RAF radars until the airport's own radar is operational.

James Walton, Inverness Airport manager said: "Having our own radar controllers handling aircraft movements is a major step forward for us and reflects the increases in traffic at the airport since 1999.

"The RAF controllers have provided us with an excellent service over the years and we thank them for their work with us since 1999. The RAF's ongoing support in providing radar data is also very important to us until our own radar is installed next year.

"The radar project team at HIAL has done an excellent job in getting us to this point and we have also worked closely with the industry regulator to bring the service into use."

Last year HIAL signed a contract with Marshall Aviation Services to develop the radar project and continues to work closely with the UK Civil Aviation Authority's Safety Regulation Group on the roll out of the scheme. The contract to provide the airport's own radar head was awarded to Thales ATM Ltd in June.

Over the past year the project has involved feeding data from the RAF radar heads into a new radar control room which has been installed at Inverness air traffic control tower. The six figure capital cost of this phase included a £50,000 grant from the regional transport partnership Hitrans. The project has also involved HIAL recruiting radar controllers and training its own staff at Inverness to radar standard.

Mr Walton said: "Our provision of local radar will enhance the service provided to airlines at the airport and allow new approach procedures to be designed which should reduce noise and cut down on fuel burn by aircraft as they land at Inverness. It will also reduce delays to inbound aircraft and increase the number of aircraft movements the airport can handle in an hour. The project will also facilitate the development of controlled airspace at the airport."

Passenger numbers at Inverness have increased by 100% since 2000 as a result of the introduction of new air routes and aircraft movements have risen by 60% over the same period. Inverness handled 41% of the total 93,000 aircraft movements at HIAL's 10 airports last year. The airport will handle more than 700,000 passengers this year.

3 July 07
Northern Constabulary's Head of Operations, Chief Superintendent Bruce Duncan said: "Northern Constabulary and other Forces across the United Kingdom are being kept up-to-date with developments in the Strathclyde area.

"We are working with them and our partners to help ensure that contingency plans are in place for any eventuality.

"We also aim to provide the right balance between maintaining awareness of the continuing terrorist threat, and providing the right level of support to re-assure all communities that they are being protected.

He added: "The Force will be putting additional resources in place to reassure the public, including additional resources at Dalcross Airport, Inverness.

"The additional measures will incorporate increased security and vigilance. We will endeavour to minimise disruption to day to day activity, but would ask members of the public to remain patient at this time.

"The Force's response is in line with that of Scotland's other forces and appropriate measures are being taken."

Northern Constabulary would urge anyone who witnesses any suspicious activity to contact Police on 08456 033388.

Measures being taken at Inverness Airport
Vehicles will be excluded from vulnerable passenger entry areas as far as possible

  • Armed Police officers will be available

  • High visibility patrols will be maintained when airports are operating

  • A specific Police command structure in place with adequate resources

  • Police will be briefing staff at airport, particularly those involved in security

  • All CCTV and Police surveillance systems will be maintained

12 June 07
Ryanair Handles 50,000th Passenger at Inverness
Leading low fares airline Ryanair will handle its 50,000th passenger at Inverness Airport tomorrow (Wednesday 13 June).

The airline launched flights to Liverpool in October 2006 and flights to Nottingham East Midlands in February this year. Both services operate three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Tomorrow's inbound flight from Liverpool, scheduled to arrive at 10.10am, will carry the 50,000th Ryanair passenger to use the Highland routes. The milestone will be marked with the lucky passenger receiving two return flights and accommodation for two nights in Inverness courtesy of the airline and airport.

Inverness is the most northerly UK airport that Ryanair flies to and its services are providing a major boost for inbound tourism in the Highlands.

Highlands and Islands Airports expect Ryanair's Liverpool and Nottingham East Midlands services to contribute up to 100,000 passengers to the airport in the current 2007/08 operating year which is on target to be the airport's busiest ever.

Inverness handled a record 700,000 passengers in the year ending March 2007 and has seen its passenger throughput double since 1999. The airport generates an annual economic output for the region of more than £130 million and air connections support more than 2,300 jobs in the area, 750 of which are based at the airport.

James Walton, Inverness Airport manager said: "We were delighted to gain Ryanair as a new airline customer last November and are pleased to see that the airline has handled its first 50,000 passengers on its Liverpool and Nottingham East Midlands routes to the Highlands.

"These services are important for inbound tourism - especially during the Year of Highland Culture - and for businesses based in our region to access two important UK regions by air. The services also provide people from the Highlands with a host of onward connections to mainland Europe with Ryanair from Liverpool and Nottingham.

"The success of the routes to date show that the airport and airlines continue to play a central role in the development of our region and we look forward to marking Ryanair's 100,000th passenger in due course," said Mr Walton.

11 June 07
F7F Tigercat Landed At Wick For Refuelling

The site of this second world war American plane landing at Wick caught the attention of two local folk with cameras handy.  Paula Gent and David Munro both snapped the aircraft landing, refuelling and taking off again.  The aircraft comes in for attention wherever it goes as it can be found on other web sites as Here and Here and Here and Here and Here and Here and even more Here and yet more Here and keep going Here and on to Here  Details from the Airworthiness Approval Note  Many more photos Here  This is one very famous plane we are discovering.   More Here and Here and an early one Here and there are many many more if you hit Google with the details.  Wick Airport should have been selling tickets.

27 May 07
More Planes Coming And Going At Wick Today

Popular Flying Association Members Fly Into Wick
Members and friends of the Popular Flying Association flew into Wick on Saturday.  This was one of their annual events and the first time the club had chosen Wick as their destination.  Not all of the fliers were from Scotland as a group of Irish pilots had come over to make the trip north and they stayed at the Loch Watten Bed and Breakfast  Up to 100 light aircraft were expected to make the trip some flying solo and others carrying friends and relatives as passenger.

7 May 07
North Airports Record Busiest Ever Year
Passenger numbers at airports in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland have increased by 7% in the past 12 months to a record total of 1,232,782.

Figures released by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited show that an additional 80,000 passengers have used its 10 airports in the year to 31 March 2007 compared to the previous operating year making it the sixth consecutive year of passenger growth. Total annual passenger numbers at its airports have increased by 57% since 2000/01.

The year end results demonstrate the increasingly important role played by aviation in the economic development and social sustainability of the region which comprises some of the UK's most remote communities.

Aircraft movements in HIAL's busiest ever year increased by almost 9% from 93,234 in 2005/06 to a total of 101,223 in 2006/07.

Increases to the frequency of scheduled flights, new routes and the introduction of the Scottish Executive's Air Discount Scheme in May 2006 have all contributed to passenger growth across the region's air network, according to HIAL.

The region's largest airport at Inverness handled almost 700,000 passengers in the year - its busiest ever - a 5% increase due to the introduction of new routes to Benbecula, Belfast City, Dublin, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Nottingham East Midlands and Southampton airports by Aer Arann, Flybe, Highland Airways and Ryanair.

HIAL's three second largest airports at Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh saw increases of 17%, 6% and 6% respectively. The airports which showed the greatest percentage increases in the year were Islay with 26% due to Loganair's introduction of more flights and Sunday services between the island and Glasgow and Kirkwall due to additional frequency on Loganair's services to the Scottish mainland.

The only one of the 10 airports not to record growth during the year was Campbeltown which handled 121 passengers less than in 2005/06, a drop of 1.3%. Wick had a 5.7% increase in traffic in the year

David Sutherland, chairman of HIAL said: "Air travel plays a vital economic and social role in our region. It supports business growth, inbound tourism and sustainable communities, particularly in remoter island locations. Equally, the population growth and economic expansion in the Inner Moray Firth is being supported by better air connections from Inverness, which accounted for 57% of our total passengers in the year.

"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," said Mr Sutherland.

19 March 07
North Airports on Target for Busiest Year
Passenger numbers at airports in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland have increased by 7% in the past 11 months. Figures released today by Highlands and Islands Airports show that an additional 71,000 passengers have used its 10 airports since April 2006 compared to the same period in the 2005/06 operating year. Aircraft movements at the airports have increased by almost 9% in the 11 months to a total of 93,225.  Wick airport  saw a 6.7% increase in passenger numbers.

27 February 07
Ryanair's Nottingham East Midlands Service Takes Off at Inverness
The latest new route from Inverness Airport took off today with the start of Ryanair flights between the Highland capital and Nottingham.

More than 90 passengers arrived on the inaugural flights which touched down at 2.40pm, many visiting friends and family in the north.

The service will operate three days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) from now on with a single return flight on each day. Flights depart Nottingham at 13.20 and arrive at Inverness at 14.40 before departing Inverness at 15.05 and arriving at Nottingham at 16.25.

Ryanair launched its first service at Inverness in October last year with daily flights operating to Liverpool.

Lucky departing passenger Jennifer Burns, from Inverness, received champagne, chocolates and flight vouchers courtesy of the airline while arriving passengers were greeted with gifts of chocolate, whisky and promotional literature on Highland 2007, tourist attractions and accommodation in the region.

Jennifer Burns Receives Champagne As She Departs On New Flight

Inverness Airport manager James Walton said: "We are delighted to celebrate the start of Ryanair's Nottingham East Midlands service today which opens up new opportunities for Highland travellers with the low fares airline.

"With Highland 2007 making this a great year to visit the region we hope that many leisure travellers will take the opportunity to travel north on the service as well over the coming months."

For flight information and booking visit www.ryanair.com

19 February 07
More Seats On Wick Aberdeen Route
Eastern Airways has increased the number of available seats on two of its routes in Scotland by using larger aircraft.

The airline has introduced a 29-seater Jetstream 41 aircraft on its services from Aberdeen to Stornoway and Wick and at the same time adorn many of its jets with the Air Discount Scheme logo to prompt people to take advantage of the initiative.

Graeme Ross, Scotland director for Eastern Airways, said: “Increasing capacity on both of these routes was a real priority for the company and it helps to cement them into the transport infrastructure of the regions.

“By increasing capacity and enhancing the services due to the popularity of these routes, we are demonstrating a firm commitment to the regions.”

The Air Discount Scheme allows local allows local people to take advantage of a 40 per cent saving on normal ticket prices and is aimed to promote air travel in Scotland.

The larger Jetstream 41 will replaced the current aircraft on both routes from 12th February.

Eastern Airways operates three flights each weekday between Aberdeen and Wick and a daily Monday to Friday service between Aberdeen and Stornoway.

9 January 07
More Holiday Charter Destinations from Inverness Airport in 2007
Newmarket Holidays has unveiled its largest ever holiday charter programme from Inverness Airport for 2007.

Highland holidaymakers now have more choice of destinations than ever before in the holiday company's fourth year of operation at the region's largest airport.

Newmarket's 2007 programme starts with a flight to Madeira on 7th March offering travellers a choice of quality hotel accommodation and optional excursions on the Atlantic island for seven nights.

Later this year, June, July and October will see a further seven flights depart Inverness to destinations including Naples, Verona, Sardinia and Madeira. Newmarket also plans to offer a flight to Salzburg's Christmas markets in December from Inverness.

Departure from Inverness on 1st June 2007 offers seven night options of:
* Sorrento and the Bay of Naples
* Capri, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast
* Tuscan Treasures - Florence and the Chianti Trail

Departures from Inverness on 1st or 8th July and 7th October 2007 offer
seven night options of:
* Lake Garda (1st and 8th July only)
* Austrian Tyrol and Lake Garda
* Venice, Verona and Lake Garda
* Seven Cities of Italy

Further holiday departures with Newmarket include Naples on 5th October, Sardinia on 13th October and Madeira on 17th October.

James Walton, Inverness Airport manager said: "Newmarket is operating its largest ever programme from Inverness this year and is offering holidaymakers more choice than ever before in destination and accommodation packages.

"The quality product offered by Newmarket appeals to the local market and, coupled with the convenience of flying from your local airport, we expect the 2007 programme to be popular.

"With new long stay car parking rates now available at the airport we would advise people to book their 2007 holidays now as demand is expected to be high, starting with Madeira at the beginning of March," said Mr Walton.

Alison Keeble, business development manager at Newmarket Holidays added: "Since starting at Inverness in 2004 we have steadily expanded our range of high quality holiday packages from the Highlands and look forward to offering people in the region the widest range of destinations and accommodation options yet this year."

For reservations and further information contact Newmarket Holidays on 0845 226 7744, speak to your local ABTA travel agent or visit the www.hial.co.uk  website.

2003 - 2004