Highlands and Islands airports set for ‘steady return’ to pre-Covid passenger levels

Passenger numbers using airports in the north of Scotland are on track for a “steady return” to pre-pandemic levels.

The projection came as Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) reported a 3.5% rise in numbers across its 11-strong network to almost 1.5 million in the 2023-24 financial year.

Inverness saw the greatest increase, at 5.6% to 792,150. 

Figures were up by 22.2% to 11,224 passengers at Wick John O’Groats airport, with increases of more than 15% at Campbeltown and 7.9% at Islay bringing totals to 7,734 and 29,919 respectively.

Increases were also recorded at Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh and Tiree.

However, airports showing a decrease included Barra, Benbecula and Dundee.

Hial chief executive Paul Kelsall said: “I’m encouraged that despite the challenging economic climate we have continued to build on the strong passenger figures of 2022-23, which remain on track for a steady return to pre-pandemic levels.

“We have invested to maintain our infrastructure and ensure the longevity of our airports for years to come.

“This includes a £5 million project to upgrade the two runways at Islay and £9 million in new energy efficient runway lighting at Inverness and Kirkwall airports. 

“Additionally, £5.3 million was invested in a coastal protection project at Stornoway to protect the airport infrastructure and surrounding area from erosion.

“In 2023, we welcomed the introduction of flights connecting Dundee, Orkney and Shetland with London Heathrow providing our island communities with access to a key international hub.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.