Record year at Edinburgh, Glasgow airports

Edinburgh Airport

Scotland’s two largest airports — Edinburgh and Glasgow — had record numbers of passengers in 2016, handling almost 22 million travellers.

Edinburgh Airport said it had 12.37 million passengers last year, and Glasgow Airport said it had 9.4 million.

Big increases in international routes have helped drive the growth at both airports.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We have continued to enhance passenger choice by offering more routes and more destinations — and people have responded by choosing to fly in and out of Edinburgh Airport in greater numbers than ever before.

“To have smashed this record — exceeding last year’s growth rate and having helped over 12.36 million passengers through the airport — highlights the draw of Edinburgh as a destination and the growing global appeal that Scotland holds.

“A swift and substantial cut to Air Passenger Duty will help greater numbers of the seven billion people across the globe to visit and sample all that Scotland has to offer — and we recognise our responsibility to welcome visitors and our role as conduit for further economic growth for the country.

“In 2017 we will continue to improve the services we offer.

“Further investment in the terminal will enhance the passenger experience and we are in the process of negotiating new exciting routes and destinations which we hope to be able to announce in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Edinburgh Airport is owned by Global Infrastructre Partners, which also owns Gatwick.

Glasgow Airport said it has significantly increased its connections to European cities with the introduction of services to Marseille, Sofia and Brussels — and has also “strengthened its position as Scotland’s principal long-haul airport with a new direct Toronto route and additional services to Orlando.”

Glasgow Airport managing director Amanda McMillan said: “2016 was an unforgettable year with so many highlights.

“To record our best-ever passenger numbers month after month and to carry 9.4 million passengers was a huge accomplishment and to do it in our Golden Anniversary was extra special …

“If we are to realise further growth we must remain competitive with other European airports, so it’s imperative that the Scottish Government’s proposed 50% cut on APD goes ahead as soon as possible.

“APD places Scotland’s airports at a severe disadvantage when it comes to competing for new routes and this cut provides the opportunity, particularly post-Brexit, to send a clear message to airlines that Scotland remains open for business.”

Glasgow Airport is owned by AGS Airports, a partnership between Spanish company Ferrovial and Australia’s Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) which was established in 2014 to invest in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports.