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GLA, EDI + ABZ growth continue through 2017

Three biggest Scottish airports end the year on a high ...


Aberdeen International Airport has ended 2017 on a high with the release of December’s passenger figures today. Over 238 000 passengers travelled from the major transport hub in December: an increase of 3.56% versus the same month the previous year. The increase came despite adverse weather conditions, both locally and in other destinations. Airfield staff successfully maintained steady operations during some of the worst weather and coldest conditions seen in seven years.

Domestic and international traffic was up 4.66% and 8.7% respectively due to continued and strong demand for a number of new and existing winter services including winter sun destinations, Malaga, Alicante and Tenerife.  Helicopter traffic saw a decrease of 11.64% versus December 2016.

The total passenger increase reported in December marks the eighth consecutive month of growth for the airport. The full year results were also released alongside December’s figures, showing that 3,135,325 passengers used the airport in 2017 - an increase of 1.86% from 3,078,089 passengers in 2016.

Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: “We have continued to see a steady growth in total passenger numbers throughout 2017 which has been predominantly driven by an increase in our fixed-wing traffic. During 2017 we launched four new international leisure routes, namely Alicante, Malaga and Faro with Ryanair, and Riga with airBaltic.”

“Domestic fixed-wing traffic has driven much of the total passenger increases which has, in part, been due to chartered services being used by offshore workers to reach destinations such as Sumburgh and Wick, to then connect offshore via helicopter. This has, as a result, contributed to the decrease in helicopter passengers travelling directly from Aberdeen. In February, Flybe introduced its Aberdeen – London Heathrow route, bringing the weekly connections to the capital to 95 per week.

“These end of year results give us confidence heading in 2018, when we will launch two new leisure routes to Malta, with Ryanair, and Reus, with TUI. We are also looking ahead to the completion of the second phase of our terminal transformation project which will bring significant improvements to our facilities from summer.”



More than 13 million passengers used Edinburgh Airport in 2017, making it the busiest ever year for a Scottish airport.

A total of 13,432,485 people passed through Scotland’s busiest airport in 2016, an additional one million passengers when compared to 2016, with international passengers driving growth – up almost 14 per-cent as 32 of the 34 new routes launched at the airport in 2017 were to international destinations.

Growth was helped by another record month at the airport as December saw 925,017 passengers using the terminal. It was the busiest ever December at the airport.

Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport Gordon Dewar said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for Edinburgh Airport – to welcome more than 13 million passengers is a real triumph and one that we are delighted by.

“That success is of course down to the vast choice of destinations we offer, our partner airlines and businesses, but it’s also down to the dedicated and expert staff who work across our campus to ensure the airport operates smoothly and successfully. We thank all of them for the sometimes unseen work that they do that is so crucial to our operations.

“We’ve already announced new and extended routes this year and construction continues on our £80 million extension project so we are preparing for further growth. We know we play a crucial role in the economy and we want to use Edinburgh and Scotland’s global appeal and standing to bring further benefits – but that sense of adventure that an airport offers is also important to us.

“We are excited about what 2018 will bring and we hope to deliver more choices and destinations for our passengers throughout the year.”


Annual 2017 figures


Annual 2017

Vs Last Year










13,432,485 passengers used Edinburgh Airport in 2017 making it the busiest year in the airport’s history and the busiest year ever for a Scottish airport.

Overall passenger numbers were up 8.6% or 1,065,987 passengers on last year. Growth came from international services, with 32 of the 34 new routes launched at the airport in 2017 being to international destinations.

December 2017 figures

925,017 passengers used the airport in December 2017, an increase of 7.2% on December 2016. December 2017 is the busiest December on record for Edinburgh Airport


December 2017

Vs Last Year













Growth came from international services.

  • Ryanair’s sixteen new routes launched in 2017 (including Katowice, Toulouse, Wroclaw, Baden, Budapest, Nantes, Venice (Treviso), Carcassonne, Prague and Valencia which launched at the end of October for the 2017 winter season) boosted passenger numbers. In addition Marseille operated in December this year and more passengers travelled to Fuerteventura.
  • easyJet’s passenger numbers were up on December 2016. More flights operated to Amsterdam, Paris CDG, Milan and Geneva. Bilbao launched in April 2017 and the new twice weekly service Sofia service which launched in December also increased passenger numbers.
  • Jet2.com continued their passenger growth at Edinburgh. More flights operated to Alicante, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Fuerteventura than in December 2016. Malaga did not operate in December last year and the new weekly Madeira service launched in October 2017, further boosting passenger numbers.
  • Norwegian’s new transatlantic services to Providence Rhode Island, Stewart International (New York) and Bradley International (Hartford/Connecticut) increased passengers compared to last December. More services operated to Oslo and Stockholm that last December and more passengers travelled on those services, further increasing passenger numbers.
  • Eurowings service to Munich was new for 2017 and Dusseldorf did not operate last December.



Glasgow Airport recorded its busiest year ever in 2017 as more than 9.9 million passengers travelled through its doors, representing an annual increase of 5.8%.

The airport significantly added to its growing destination list with the launch of a number of new Ryanair services to European cities including Madrid, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Krakow and Valencia.

Glasgow also continued to strengthen its position as Scotland’s principal long-haul airport with a new direct Delta Air Lines route to New York-JFK, record passenger numbers on the daily double Dubai service and additional flights to Orlando. Scotland’s only direct service from Seoul operated by Korean Air also returned in 2017 with an additional 25% capacity.

In December more than 618,100 people travelled through the terminal, however, adverse weather conditions resulted in a marginal -1.5% decrease on passenger numbers on the same period in 2016.  

International traffic was up by 2.3% due to strong demand for winter sun destinations including the Canary Islands and European city breaks, with Christmas markets in Munich, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Krakow proving popular. The poor weather conditions in December also led to a -5.2% reduction on domestic traffic.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “2017 was a fantastic year for the airport. To carry more than 9.9 million passengers is a huge achievement and testament to the hard work put in by more than 5000 people across the airport.

“It was also particularly pleasing that we were able to considerably increase our connectivity, particularly across Europe, by securing more than 30 routes and services during the year.

“Over the last 12 months we also made considerable improvements to the airport by investing more than £25 million on a number of successful projects including the resurfacing of the runway, increasing aircraft stand capacity and the opening of our new consolidated car rental centre. Phase one of the expansion project to increase our Central Search security area by 20 per cent also got underway in December and should be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

“While Glasgow Airport enters 2018 in a position of strength, the wider aviation industry faces a number of challenges in the year ahead. These challenges will be particularly heightened by the Brexit situation, so it’s important we have clarity as early as possible on how the UK’s future relationship with the European Union will work.”

Traffic summary

December 2017


Total passengers


% change

Airport passengers for Jan-Dec 2017

% annual change