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Flying ahead: Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports enjoy busiest ever year

Two Scottish airports have enjoyed their busiest-ever years, according to latest figures.

Almost 9.8 million people used Edinburgh Airport in 2013, an increase of 6.3% on the previous year.

The figure makes it the fifth busiest airport in the UK and the third biggest city in the UK in terms of airport passenger numbers, following London and Manchester.

July and August were the busiest, with more than one million people travelling through each month.

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: "2013 was a landmark year for Edinburgh Airport.

"It was a year in which we fulfilled our promises on new route development, securing three long-haul hub connections and bolstering our domestic and European services. We also commenced work on a £25 million expansion and improvement project.

"The passenger figures speak for themselves. Two consecutive million months in the summer, in addition to six months of continued passenger increases, means last year was the busiest year ever for any Scottish airport - a fantastic achievement."

December 2013 saw strong passenger growth with 645,447 passengers passing through the airport, an increase of 11% compared to December 2012.

Last month saw an increase in domestic passenger numbers, with 350,577 passing through the airport, a rise of 6.9% from 2012.

A total of 294,870 international passengers also travelled through Edinburgh Airport in December, a 16.4% increase compared to the same time in 2012.

Aberdeen Airport also celebrated its busiest ever year, with 3.48 million people passing through, beating the previous record high of 3.43 million in 2007 before the economic downturn.

The airport handled 3,488,407 passengers in 2013, a 3.79% rise on the previous year. Of those, 517,526 were helicopter passengers.

Managing director Carol Benzie said: "Throughout 2013 we were aware that the whole team was putting in a great performance and it is therefore very pleasing to see us record such a high passenger figure.

"What this represents is a recovery from the recession which hit the whole of the UK aviation sector, some more than others.

"We have recovered and then improved upon that performance as a result of great teamwork and the continued buoyancy of our region."

Glasgow Airport enjoyed its busiest year since 2008, with 7.4 million passengers passing through in 2013, an annual increase of 2.9%.

The airport said it was its third consecutive year of growth and attributed much of the success to a marked increase in long haul and European traffic, which grew by 11% and 15% respectively.

It said that the arrival of airlines such as Wizz Air and Lufthansa Regional contributed to the increase in international traffic, as did the strong performance of long-haul carriers Emirates, United and Virgin Atlantic, all of which reported growth in 2013, while there was strong demand for Glasgow's London and UK regional routes.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: "To have recorded our busiest year in five years and our third consecutive year of growth is very pleasing.

"We enjoyed considerable success throughout 2013 in further strengthening our route network and we committed significant investment to enhancing our facilities.

"Whilst the growth in numbers would appear to suggest a renewed confidence amongst airlines and passengers, we are still operating in what remains a difficult economic environment and achieving further growth will be a challenge.

"There is, however, much to look forward to. 2014 is set to be a momentous year for Glasgow and our focus will be on ensuring we play our part in the successful delivery of what will be the biggest sporting event in Scotland's history, the 2014 Commonwealth Games."

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