Hogmanay influx to land airport with latest record

Airport bosses are expecting a flood of passengers this week. Picture: Toby Williams
Airport bosses are expecting a flood of passengers this week. Picture: Toby Williams
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EDINBURGH Airport is 
gearing up for its busiest festive week ever, with 75,000 revellers expected to fly in to the city over the coming days.

New figures released by airport bosses show a boom in passengers expected between Christmas Day and Hogmanay, as party-goers flock to enjoy the Capital’s world-famous winter celebrations.

And the total is set to smash previous records, with 70,966 visitors piling in over the same period last year – and just 66,708 in the final week of 2013.

Transport chiefs said Edinburgh’s reputation as a festive hotspot was helping fend off the usual dip in passengers over the Christmas holidays.

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive, said: “Last year’s arriving passenger figures in the run-up to New Year smashed all records of Scottish airports – so to go one better this year is a great achievement.

“Edinburgh is rightly recognised globally as a world-class city and Scotland is a massive brand. It’s easy to see why – our heritage, our culture and our people.

“People want to visit us – and at this time of year they want to party with us.”

Airport bosses said they expected visitors to fly in from as far afield as the United States and the Middle East in the run-up to Hogmanay.

A spokesman said: “Party-goers will be arriving from across the UK, Europe and even as far afield as Abu Dhabi and New York in the run-up to Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay party.

“Edinburgh Airport is only six hours from the Big Apple – and people from across the globe love visiting Scotland all year round.”

The new figures come after Edinburgh celebrated the busiest November ever at a Scottish airport – welcoming 794,792 passengers through its doors.

Officials said Edinburgh’s 12.4 per cent annual rise was largely due to an increase in international routes, with 2015 shaping up to be its most successful year ever.

But it’s not all been plain sailing. During the summer rush, hundreds of angry passengers lashed out at the airport’s management over problems with the terminal’s new £25 million security hall – branding the long delays and queues a “shambles”.

Councillor Frank Ross, the city’s economy leader, said: “After its busiest year ever, Edinburgh Airport looks set to start 2016 on a high.

“Tens of thousands of visitors from 70 countries will join us for our world-class Hogmanay celebrations and the new passenger routes and strengthened schedules introduced by Edinburgh Airport unquestionably support the city’s successful visitor economy.

“The continued popularity of the Capital’s winter festivals, including the New Year’s Day Loony Dook at South Queensferry, translates into positive economic benefits for our hotels, retail sector and transport links and creates new opportunities for investment and employment.

“I hope that all of our visitors experience a fantastic New Year with us here in Edinburgh.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com