By Scott Wright

EDINBURH Airport has declared it has just recorded the busiest ever year for a Scottish airport.

Nearly 14.8 million passengers passed through the airport in 2019, up 3.1 per cent on the year before, as the hub said it continued to capitalise on the addition of new routes.

Driving the expansion was a 5.3% hike in international passengers to nearly 9.5 million, which came as the airport introduced 21 new routes, 18 international and three domestic.

December saw a dramatic increase in international traffic, the airport said, with numbers up 10.2% on the year before to 652,647.

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Edinburgh highlighted strong growth in the short-haul market, boosted by the addition of new Wizz Air routes to Budapest, Bucharest, Warsaw and Gdansk, and the increase of the Delta service to JFK to daily from five days per week.

However, the airport said domestic traffic dipped by 0.7% over the year to 5,338,511. Numbers were dragged lower by a steep fall in December, when passenger volume fell by 8.9% to 396,298.

The airport cited the impact of Ryanair cutting its Stansted route, and Flybe ending its service to East Midlands, in October, though said the impact was partially offset by British Airways increasing frequency to Heathrow and Gatwick, and Loganair starting a new route to East Midlands.

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Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: "We’re delighted to deliver a record year for any Scottish airport as passengers continued to take advantage of new routes, new airlines and the opportunity to expand their horizons and travel the world.

"We never lose sight of the fact that the airport is a conduit to a whole host of things. We play our part in tourism, business, education, research and culture.

"Clearly, we want to see that success continue to benefit Edinburgh and Scotland and travel will always be a part of that, but we do have a responsibility to manage that success in a sustainable manner."