AIRPORT bosses have set their sights on another bumper year as they head towards the 10 million passenger milestone.
Almost 9.8 million people used Edinburgh Airport last year, an increase of 6.3 per cent on the previous year – the busiest of any Scottish airport. However, terminal chiefs believe 2014 could be even better, thanks to the Year of Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup taking place in Scotland.
Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said a number of new routes – including long-haul flights to Qatar and Philadelphia beginning in May and hops to Turkey and Crete – will help enhance the meteoric growth.
Bosses are confident of another “huge year ahead” in 2014 with work under way to expand the main building as part of a £25 million plan.
Key to their success will be experience garnered from handling more than a million passengers a month last summer – and the trams starting to run.
Mr Dewar said: “Following a record-breaking 2013, we’re entering the new year with a renewed focus on our passengers. We’ve set the bar high and this year looks set to be both challenging and immensely exciting with not only the Year of Homecoming and our annual festivals, but two of the most famous sporting events taking place in Scotland.
“It’s safe to say that the world’s eyes will definitely be looking in our direction.”
He added: “We’re confident that with a number of new short-haul and long-haul routes starting and a multi-million-pound investment project under way, we’ll deliver a fantastic experience for the millions of passengers expected to fly into Edinburgh over the coming months.”
Edinburgh Airport is now the fifth busiest airport in the UK and the Capital is the third biggest city in terms of passenger numbers, following London and Manchester.
December saw strong growth, with 645,447 passengers passing through the airport, an increase of 11 per cent compared to 2012.
Domestic passenger numbers saw the biggest rise with a total of 350,577, a rise of 6.9 per cent from 2012. A total of 294,870 international passengers also travelled through Edinburgh Airport, a huge increase of 16.4 per cent compared to the same time in 2012.
City council economic convenor Frank Ross said: “This is very encouraging news for Edinburgh’s economy and demonstrates that the investment in new flight routes is bringing in more passengers.”