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Airports start the year on high note for passengers

SCOTLAND'S largest airports have all kicked off the year with solid increases in passengers numbers.

During January Edinburgh kept its place as the busiest hub in the country and saw an 11% rise in people passing through to 586,184.

Meanwhile Glasgow reported more than 436,000 passengers, 6% more than in the same month last year.

Data published yesterday also showed Aberdeen recorded a near 10% hike to around 251,400.

In Glasgow domestic traffic, which is mainly driven by service to London, was up by 4% while international grew by 9%.

Lufthansa Regional's routes to Dusseldorf, the Wizzair flights to Gdansk and Warsaw as well as the twice daily Emirates link to Dubai all experienced a greater uptake.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: "January is traditionally a quiet month so it is very encouraging to have made such a positive start to 2014.

"Our growth was largely driven by demand for international travel particularly long haul traffic, which was up 10%, but it was very pleasing to see our domestic routes perform so well."

Ms McMillan also pointed out CityJet had taken over the former FlyBe route between Glasgow and Cardiff and Wizzair plans to add extra capacity on its Warsaw service for Scotland's upcoming friendly football match against Poland on March 5.

Edinburgh Airport's January performance was helped by a 9.4% rise in domestic passengers to 321,502, with the Virgin Atlantic Little Red Service to Heathrow responsible for an extra 25,000 people.

Alongside that was a 14.3% jump in international traffic with Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt and easyJet's European routes highlighted as strong performers.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive, said: "We've hit the ground running for 2014 and are gearing up for what promises to be a very busy few months, with thousands of French rugby fans arriving in March and over a dozen new routes launching in the spring."

Glasgow said it also benefitted from additional traffic from fans going to matches in the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Aberdeen's helicopter passenger numbers rose 17.8% last month, with fixed wing travellers up by 8.5%.

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