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Transport / Sumburgh Airport car parking income takes significant – but expected – dip

The Sumburgh Airport car park. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News
The Sumburgh Airport car park. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

THE INCOME taken in through car parking charges at Sumburgh Airport dropped by nearly 90 per cent as a result of the pandemic.

While the figures are to be expected with less air traffic flowing through Sumburgh, it is a dent on the income at the airport.

Freedom of information figures obtained by Shetland News showed that from March – when the first local Covid cases were confirmed – to the end of 2020, a total of £10,624 was received through the £3 a day car parking charge.

The same period in 2019 saw airport operator Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) take in nearly £78,000.

HIAL noted that for a number of months in the summer of 2020 car parking charges were suspended at Sumburgh Airport.

The £3 a day car parking charge was imposed at Sumburgh Airport in December 2018, while the fee was also put in place at Kirkwall and Stornoway.

The charge at Sumburgh was greeted with anger by local politicians who felt the location of the airport, and the public transport connections, meant a parking fee was unfair.

Government-owned HIAL, which depends on subsidies to run its loss-making airports, defended the introduction of the charge as a way to increase revenue.

The figures, meanwhile, show that in 2019 the most profitable months for the parking charge at Sumburgh were October (£10,862) and July (£9,545).

The month with the lowest income that year was September, with £6,129 received.

Parking is free for blue badge holders, NHS patients and people living in Shetland who require taking inter-island ferries to flights to get to Sumburgh.