SCOTLAND’S Highlands and islands airports have reported a significant increase in turnover and passenger numbers for the 2016/17 financial year. Turnover rose to £21.4 million, passenger numbers were up 15.4 per cent to 1.6 million, and losses were cut from from £3.38 million in 2015/16 to just £8000.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), a private limited company wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers, is responsible for the management and operation of 11 airports.

Figures lodged yesterday also highlighted a continuing investment of £16 million across the group’s airports at Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick.

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HIAL chief executive Inglis Lyon believes the airport group is in good shape for further growth.

He said: “With Highland links to two of the world’s busiest aviation hubs at London and Schiphol, passengers have quick and easy access to global transfers taking them to the rest of the world.

“Further development and improvement in connectivity for the Highlands is not only good for tourism, but crucial to attract new inward investment and enhanced business opportunities.”