December passenger figures give cause for optimism

Almost 230,000 passengers travelled through the airport during December.
Almost 230,000 passengers travelled through the airport during December.

Aberdeen International Airport has taken encouragement from its passenger figures for December 2016 which suggest the downturn that impacted the wider North East economy throughout 2016 is beginning to slow.

Almost 230,000 passengers travelled through the airport during December with domestic and international traffic down 0.4% and 4.7% respectively.

The airport, which is the north-east of Scotland’s major transport hub, published the figures alongside its full year results which showed that 3.1 million passengers used the airport in 2016 – a decrease of 12.2% compared to the previous year.

Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: “As expected, 2016 proved to be challenging, however, we did see a significant slowing of the decline in our numbers during the latter part of the year. The decrease in November’s and December’s figures were the smallest we had experienced in 2016 which suggest we have come through the worst of the downturn.

"December’s helicopter traffic was impacted by adverse weather offshore so it is slightly more difficult to identify a trend.

“In regards to 2017, we have started the year on a much stronger footing and are looking forward to welcoming the return of both Ryanair and airBaltic, whilst Flybe will launch direct flights to Heathrow in March. We are also making excellent progress with our redevelopment works and our passengers will soon benefit from real changes within the expanded terminal building.

“One of our main priorities for the year is to further strengthen our route network. If we are to achieve this then it is vitally important progress is made on the issue of Air Passenger Duty (APD) as a matter of urgency. Addressing APD will play a major role in ensuring the north east of Scotland can make a swift recovery and it was for this reason I welcomed last month’s publication of the Scottish Government’s Air Departure Tax Bill.”

Ryanair will return to Aberdeen in February with year-round twice-weekly flights to Alicante, Malaga and Faro, three of the most requested routes in a leisure survey carried out by the airport in 2016. Low-cost carrier airBaltic will operate three flights per week to the Latvian capital from May to September 2017.