GLASGOW Airport has seen its busiest year since 2009 while its main rival, Edinburgh continued to see a slump in passenger numbers.

Almost 7.2 million people travelled through Glasgow in 2012, marking an increase of 4.2% on the previous year, while Edinburgh saw 9.2 million passengers, around 190,000 less than 2011 – a drop of 2%.

Much of the downturn at Edinburgh has been blamed on Ryanair's decision to cut back on its winter frequency. However, a slew of recent route announcements by the low-cost carrier, as well as easyJet, Air Canada and Virgin Atlantic, which will compete with British Airways on flights to London, is expected to reverse the trend this year.

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Aberdeen welcomed more than 3.36 million passengers – 525,000 of those being helicopter passengers – beating the previous year's total of 3.1 million.

At Glasgow, domestic traffic for the year increased 2.1% while the number of passengers choosing international travel was up 6.4%. New routes and services were hailed as contributing to much of the overall growth.

Managing director Amanda McMillan said: "We worked extremely hard throughout 2012 against a backdrop of continued economic uncertainty, to expand our route network and provide passengers with greater choice."

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport's chief executive, said: "It's clear that we lost some momentum at the beginning of the year due to the sales process and the last months of BAA ownership.

"However, I'm delighted that with the work done on new route development since the airport was purchased by GIP, 2013 will see us offer Scottish passengers over 130 routes."