Airport sees numbers fall
CAITHNESS business chief Trudy Morris says she is disappointed passenger numbers at Wick John O'Groats Airport were down by 4.1 per cent last year.
Ms Morris, the chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce and chairwoman of Caithness Transport Forum, was speaking after figures showed passengers numbers at Wick had dropped from 20,362 in 2017 to 19,520 in 2018 – a reduction of 842.
The statistics were released by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) which runs 11 airports, including Wick John O'Groats, on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Ms Morris said: "We are disappointed to once again see a drop in passenger numbers at Wick John O'Groats Airport. While this is in part due to an ongoing loss of traffic as a result of the downturn in the oil and gas market, recent changes to the flight schedule to and from the airport, along with reliability issues, will also undoubtedly be having an impact.
"With neither the Aberdeen nor the Edinburgh routes allowing a business traveller to do a full day's business at either destination and return the same day, there is limited incentive to use air travel over other modes of transport."
However, she added: "It is also important that we place this in the context of the wider issues facing the UK's regional aviation market, as demonstrated by the recent collapse of Flybmi. As a chamber, we are working with partners to explore solutions to help ensure that Wick John O'Groats can sustain and improve this region's connections to the rest of the UK."
Inverness recorded an increase of 16,034 passengers over the 12-month period, going from 887,123 to 903,157.