International flights lift Scots airports to record

Edinburgh Airport

Strong growth in international flights helped Edinburgh and Glasgow airports to their busiest March ever last month.

Edinburgh Airport said it had more than 956,000 passengers last month — the busiest March for a Scottish airport ever and a 4.1% rise on the same month last year.

Edinburgh had 520,333 international passengers in March, up 5.5%, and 444,958 domestic, up 2.5%.

In 2016, 27 new international services were launched from Edinburgh, and two new routes were launched in March 2017.

Glasgow Airport also reported its busiest March on record with more than 700,000 passengers, an increase of 7% on the same period last year.

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We have seen another solid increase in the number of international passengers which highlights the ever-increasing draw of Edinburgh as a global destination.

“An increase in visitors to the city stimulates the economy, creates new jobs and offers direct international links for all of Scotland.

“As we move into the final few weeks of our public consultation on airspace change I would urge everyone in our neighbouring communities with a view on our preferred flightpath options to respond before our consultation closes on May 7.”

Glasgow Airport saw demand for EU destinations increase by 20.5% with services to Paris, Valencia, Lisbon and Berlin all performing well.

Long haul carriers Emirates and Virgin Atlantic both enjoyed an uplift in passenger numbers from Glasgow, contributing to an overall increase in international traffic of 13.7%.

Glasgow Airport managing director Amanda McMillan said: “Our continued growth is a direct result of our efforts in securing new routes and services for our passengers.

“We have succeeded in significantly strengthening our European connectivity since the start of 2016 and later this year we will launch direct flights to Madrid, Frankfurt and Krakow.

“Providing a greater choice of routes not only opens up a host of new markets for our passengers, it provides our tourism industry with a much needed boost by ensuring Scotland is more accessible.

“Earlier this year Glasgow, through its Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023, set out how it aims to attract one million more visitors to the city and position Glasgow as the gateway to Scotland.

“Glasgow Airport has a key role in supporting this ambition.

“If the city and Scotland are to continue to attract further visitors and enjoy the associated economic uplift, then it’s important we address the high levels of Air Passenger Duty which put our airports at a severe disadvantage when it comes to competing with our European and global counterparts.”