Record year for Sumburgh’s energy flights, but airport operator warns of ‘oil-clouds’ on horizon

Sumburgh airportA record 1.4 million air passengers passed through Highlands and Islands Ltd’s 11 airports – almost 52,000 more than in 2013, representing a 3.8% increase.

And Sumburgh confirmed its status as Scotland’s fastest growing major airport with an 18.2% rise in passenger numbers to 319,597. The airport is about to undergo further investment after Transport Minister Derek Mackay gave the go ahead for funding for the second phase of the airport’s redevelopment.

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director, HIAL, said: “We are delighted with performance of the group as a whole, particularly at Sumburgh. However, we cannot be overly reliant on the energy sector for new business and this is a lesson that also applies to Sumburgh.

“The fall in oil prices and moves by the oil firms to curtail future investment will inevitably impact on passenger numbers at Sumburgh.

“Our focus for the future is to ensure that Sumburgh remains the airport of choice for the energy sector while seeking out new business opportunities.”

HIAL’s busiest airport, Inverness, recorded its best year since 2008 with 628,526 passengers, up by 1.7%. This was largely because of growing demand on the Manchester and Amsterdam services – which are increasingly popular alternative hubs to London – and the launch of a new route to Dublin, which offers good connections to North America.

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