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Inverness Airport passenger numbers up

By Philip Murray

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HIAL managing director Inglise Lyon
HIAL managing director Inglise Lyon

AIR passenger numbers at Inverness rose more than eight per cent last year, Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) has revealed.

Almost 679,000 people passed through the busy airport at Dalcross — up from almost 629,000 in 2014.

But numbers were down more than five per cent in the final three months of 2015, when compared with the same period in the previous year. The airport handled more than 153,000 passengers, down from 162,000.

Hial said the overall growth was driven by increased demand for the airport’s international services, including Amsterdam, Dublin, Geneva and Zurich, as well as a rise in traffic to UK hubs in Manchester and London Gatwick.

It added that the fall in numbers at the end of the year was due to poor weather, less demand from the energy sector and the loss of the Inverness to London City Airport service, which had boosted numbers at the end of 2014.

And the company believes the Dalcross site will enjoy one of its busiest ever years in 2016, thanks to the return of direct flights to Heathrow, and the launch of a new KLM service to Amsterdam Schiphol.

Across its network of airports, Hial also recorded its busiest ever year — with 1.4 million people flying from its 11 sites.

Inglis Lyon, its managing director, said: "This growth illustrates the enormous importance of our regional airports to Scotland’s economy."

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