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Study on impacts of Inverness Airport

Published: 15/03/2018

The social and economic influence of Inverness Airport is to be the subject of a new study.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) have commissioned economic development consultants, ekosgen, to carry out the work.

Over the next few weeks the study team will be carrying out desk research and survey work, including interviewing principal stakeholders and a representative sample of businesses.

The work will quantify direct and supply chain impacts of Inverness Airport including employment and expenditure of the operator and other businesses associated with the airport.

HIE and HIAL want to improve understanding of the contribution Inverness Airport makes to regional development and its role in facilitating business growth, inward investment and social inclusion.

Carroll Buxton, HIE director of regional development, said: “Inverness Airport has grown in size and in significance over the past twenty years or so. It is now a crucial factor in regional development, inward investment and business growth.

“We want to build on the information that already exists in terms of passenger numbers and revenue and extend this to quantify the wider impacts this has. The work will be used to inform future strategy, support route development and to evidence the case for ongoing public support for the airport.”

Inverness Airport general manager Graeme Bell, said: “We have experienced consistent growth in recent years at Inverness in terms of passenger traffic and expanding the number of routes we provide, including Amsterdam Schiphol and London Heathrow. This has resulted in a record number of passengers using the airport in 2017 [854,959 passengers].

“The people and businesses of the Highlands can enjoy greater connectivity than ever before and this also helps attract visitors to the region. The new study will help quantify the effect on the local region and enable us to work with our colleagues at HIE to deliver long-term sustainability and development.”

Owned by HIAL, Inverness Airport is the principal airport in the Highlands and Islands and the fourth busiest in Scotland. In the twelve months to March 2017, it welcomed 829,000 passengers; a 24.5% increase on the previous year.

The airport is a major gateway for the region, providing vital business links to international markets as well as being a key entry-point for tourists and inward investors.

It offers a range of daily flights to and from destinations such as London, Amsterdam, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin, Belfast, Stornoway, Orkney and Shetland.

In recent years HIAL has re-introduced flights to Jersey and Majorca, and new summer services to Zurich and Norwich. A new service to Bergen will begin in May 2018. Capacity on the London Heathrow route has been increased and there are more seats available on the Inverness to Amsterdam route.

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