School’s out for summer and thousands are heading for sunnier climes, with Edinburgh Airport expecting its busiest weekend of the year so far.
Almost 100,000 passengers are expected to pass through its doors this weekend, in what is hoped will prove an all-time record number for the month of June.
With the school summer holidays officially under way, the airport is gearing up for a huge influx of departing passengers, with Friday seeing almost 21,000 people leaving Scotland for sunny destinations.
Despite the tough financial times, passengers are heading out to destinations including Orlando, Cancun and Alicante, plus new additions such as Cagliari, Bologna and Sharm El Sheikh.
This year, airport bosses have already enjoyed the busiest May on record and hope to break the one million passenger mark for its busiest month, July.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “The summer months are always an incredibly busy time for us here at Edinburgh Airport with families jetting off on their annual summer holiday.
“We’re delighted that this year looks set to be our busiest summer on record, with this weekend, the start of the traditional Trades Fortnight, looking set to be the busiest weekend of the year so far.
“We work extremely hard to give our passengers the very best choice when it comes to deciding on their summer getaway.
“We have a fantastic selection of destinations to choose from and we’ll continue to listen to what our customers want from us.”
As the mass exodus continues, the airport has employed a number of measures to help stressed-out parents who are struggling to keep children entertained.
The airport will play to host a range of children’s activities, including face painting, a magician and a dedicated ‘kid zone’.
Mr Dewar added: “Our ultimate goal is to make their experience of Edinburgh Airport as enjoyable as possible so this year we will once again have a range of family-friendly entertainment dotted throughout the check-in terminal and departure lounge.
“We will also be operating our family lane once again at security to ensure families can progress through security as quickly and easily as possible.”
In anticipation of heavy holiday traffic, Transport Scotland has advised anyone preparing for their summer getaway to plan their journeys in advance and give themselves plenty of time to reach their preferred destinations.
But not everyone has chosen to spend their free time abroad – with VisitScotland predicting another rise in ‘staycations’ as frugal families make plans to have fun at home.
A spokesman for the tourist body said: “Given the economic climate, and the fact people have been managing their budget for the past few years, it’s an excellent opportunity for Edinburgh and the Lothians to captivate tourists who choose to stay at home.
“The Capital is a major attraction, not just in the UK, but across the world, and we expect a lot of people will come to Edinburgh and the Lothians this summer holiday.
“It’s a massive draw.”