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Strong demand is boosting passenger numbers at airports

PASSENGER numbers at Glasgow Airport in March were up 4.1% on the same month of last year at nearly 532,000, with growth in both domestic and international traffic, the latest figures have shown.

Edinburgh Airport meanwhile enjoyed a 4.9% year-on-year rise in passenger numbers in March, to more than 730,000. And passenger numbers at Aberdeen International Airport last month were up by 8.2% on March 2013, at 289,193.

Glasgow, part of the Heathrow Airport Holdings operation known formerly as BAA, said yesterday that it had achieved a 2.9% year-on-year rise in domestic passenger numbers in March, amid strong demand for flights to London and other UK destinations.

It added that international passenger numbers in March were up by 5.9% on the same month of last year, declaring that airlines including KLM, Jet2.com and United had all reported increases in demand.

Referring to the landing at ­Glasgow this week by Emirates of a double-decker Airbus A380, the world's largest passenger plane, airport managing director Amanda McMillan said: "To be able to announce further growth is extremely encouraging and rounds off what has been a historic week for Glasgow Airport and Scottish aviation. To have the A380 touch down on our runway was a remarkable and fitting way to celebrate 10 years of Glasgow Airport's successful partnership with Emirates which, yet again, demonstrated its commitment to Scotland."

She added: "April signalled the start of our busy summer schedule and, with our preparations for the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup well under way, passengers will start to notice changes in our main terminal building, which has been undergoing an extensive refurbishment."

At Edinburgh, domestic ­passenger numbers in March were up by 5.3% on the same month of last year at 390,734. The number of passengers travelling internationally through Edinburgh was up by 4.4% year-on-year in March at 343,115.

Edinburgh Airport, owned by Global Infrastructure Partners, highlighted the part which the introduction of six-times-daily flights to London Heathrow by Virgin Atlantic Little Red last April had played in the year-on-year passenger growth last month, given these services were not available in March 2013.

It said that an influx of French charter flights for the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and France at Murrayfield at the beginning of March had combined with Turkish Airlines' new daily service to Istanbul and Lufthansa's twice-daily service to Frankfurt to boost international passenger numbers last month.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: "We enjoyed a busy March, with good performances from domestic and international carriers. We also experienced our busiest departure day ever, thanks to the thousands of French rugby fans leaving Edinburgh after the Six Nations."

Aberdeen International Airport, also part of Heathrow Airport Holdings, said helicopter passenger numbers in March were up 12.9% on the same month of last year. It added that passenger numbers for fixed-wing aircraft flights were up 7.4% year-on-year in March.

Carol Benzie, managing director of Aberdeen International Airport, said: "I am pleased to see that our efforts have paid off, allowing us to deliver more growth. There are a lot of exciting things happening at the airport at the moment."

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