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Transport / Oil and gas traffic helps soften impact of pandemic at Sumburgh

Sumburgh Airport is one of 11 airports under HIAL's wing.Sumburgh Airport.

SUMBURGH is faring slightly better than other airports in the Highlands and Islands when it comes passenger numbers during the pandemic, with oil and gas traffic helping the figures.

New figures showed that there were 17,144 aircraft movements at Sumburgh in November compared to 21,433 in the same month the year before, pre-pandemic.

This makes for a 20 per cent reduction, but it is the smallest drop across the whole Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd (HIAL) network.

The overall reduction across HIAL’s airports between the two Novembers was 72.7 per cent.

Kirkwall saw a 66.1 per cent reduction while numbers at Inverness plummeted by around 92 per cent.

Passenger traffic to and from Sumburgh has been significantly affected by the pandemic, with a skeleton service introduced during the initial lockdown, as well as under current restrictions.

Outside of these times Loganair has run a reduced service due to a slowdown in bookings, with flights to Glasgow and Inverness for instance chopped from the schedule.

HIAL airports remain open to accommodate a skeleton schedule for lifeline and essential flights. These include medical and NHS patient transfer, Royal Mail and the energy industry.