Transport / Sumburgh Airport passenger numbers rise by ten per cent

Sumburgh Airport. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

PASSENGER numbers at Sumburgh Airport in 2022/23 were up by around ten per cent on the previous year, new figures show.

Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has reported a 38.7 per cent year-on-year increase in passenger numbers across its network of 11 airports, with the figures now approaching pre-pandemic levels.

The twelve months to March 2023 saw almost 1.5 million people travel through the HIAL network.

At Sumburgh Airport, which hosts oil and gas charter flights as well as passenger services, there was a 10.2 per cent increase to 303,704 passengers.

This places it as the second busiest airport in the network, only second to Inverness (750,325 passengers).

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon, who is due to step down from his role, said the increases were a testament to the work and commitment of staff across the organisation to get the airports back to the levels they were operating at before the pandemic.


He said: “The figures highlight the vital role our people and airports play in the future sustainability and prosperity the communities we serve.

“They also a reflect well on the huge effort made by our airline partners to maintain service levels throughout the recovery period.

“Despite the pressures placed on business and people across the country throughout the pandemic, we have continued to invest in our facilities and to make improvements that benefit our passengers as well as the aircraft companies that serve them.

“With almost 1.5 million people passing through our 11 airports across the Highlands and Islands over the past 12 months, the economies in each of those areas will have benefited significantly from the added investment and spending they bring with them.”

Scottish Government transport minister Kevin Stewart said: “Many of the routes from HIAL’s airports provide essential connectivity for the communities they serve and increasing passenger numbers will help to ensure that this connectivity is maintained into the future.”

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