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Caithness News Bulletins May 2003

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Wick Airport      

Record Passenger Growth at Inverness Airport
Highland Bucks The Worldwide Trend

Inverness Airport had a record month in April with more than 37,000 passengers travelling via the Highland air hub.  April 2003 was one of the busiest months ever at Inverness, reflecting the continuing development of the airport as the principal air hub in the region. Passenger figures at the airport, operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, were 20% up on the same period in 2002 at a total of 37,424 for the month of April 2003.

Traffic between Inverness and London was up on the previous year by 38% in April 2003 to a total of 29,659 passengers. Inverness offers flights to London Gatwick with BA Citiexpress and London Gatwick and London Luton with easyJet.

Inverness airport manager James Walton believes the success of recent route launches and the robust economy in the City of Inverness is a strong basis for further growth.

“The continuing growth at Inverness is fantastic news for the airport and the region. The expansion of air services in the past year has been very rewarding and strengthens the business case for other airlines to operate out of Inverness,” said Mr Walton.

“Passengers now have a wider range of travel and fare options at Inverness and the Highlands are well placed to gain new business as a result, both in industrial and leisure markets. This area has a lot to offer the UK and is now little over an hour away from both London and Manchester by air. Improved domestic and cross-border air connections are also affording businesses within the region better access to UK and international markets.”

The success at Inverness follows net passenger growth of 4% to 864,301 at the 10 airports operated by Highlands and Islands Airports in year ending 31 March 2003.

In 2002-2003 there was significant passenger growth at Inverness of 8% to 407,196, once again growth greater than that of Aberdeen Airport and a performance above the national average. Kirkwall forged ahead with growth of 15% to 111,145, Stornoway had 10% growth to 98,703 and Islay also grew by 10% to 22,377.

The number of overall aircraft movements at the airports increased slightly by 1.5% to 76,119, with the largest increases at Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Wick.

The growing importance of air freight movements in the region was also reflected in an overall rise of 3% to 6,948 tonnes for the year.

Bob Macleod, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports said: “I am delighted to report that year on year we are seeing an increase in passenger numbers through our airport network.

“New services and routes operated by Loganair, bmi, Eastern Airways and easyJet were launched in Autumn 2002 and early 2003 and have only been running for a matter of months but are already having a positive impact on passenger numbers. The success of these routes in their initial months suggests that further growth in passenger numbers can be expected in the coming year.

“We also hope to see further route development occurring in the coming year as a result of our ongoing commercial and marketing strategy and work with current and potential airline customers.”

Wick Airport
Following a relatively static period in terms of passenger and flight figures at Wick over recent years, traffic figures have improved, particularly during the last quarter of the year to
31 March 2003, which showed a 30% increase on the same period in 2001-2002. This is due to increased use of the airport for training and charter flights as well as a number of local private aircraft operators establishing Wick as their operating base. 
Wick – passenger total for 2002-2003 was 29,400, and aircraft movements total was 5,895

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited manages and operates 10 airports in the North and West of Scotland at: Barra; Benbecula; Campbeltown; Inverness; Islay; Kirkwall; Stornoway; Sumburgh; Tiree and Wick.
The company handles an annual budget of almost £30 million and is responsible for providing airport infrastructure, facilitating lifeline air links and promoting economic sustainability and social inclusion in Scotland’s remoter regions.  For further
information see the www.hial.co.uk website.