Edinburgh Airport was today set to smash its ambition of ten million passengers in a calendar year, confirming it as one of the UK’s biggest hubs outside of London.
The milestone was due to be reached at the height of the Christmas getaway, meaning the official passenger figures for the year could be well in excess of the target when they are released next month.
Airport bosses said they expected the mystery ten millionth traveller to pass through the terminal this afternoon, probably jetting off for Christmas Day with loved ones in Bristol, Dublin or Amsterdam.
The milestone cements Edinburgh’s position as the fifth-largest airport in the UK, and the only one outside of London or Manchester with more than ten million passengers in a single year. A celebratory bash is being planned for January to mark the occasion.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’ve been lucky to play our part in delivering a phenomenal year for Scotland, one which we’ve been on the global stage. Events like the Ryder Cup and Edinburgh festivals attracted huge numbers of visitors to Scotland.
“This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the exceptional hard work from our city partners. The help and support they have given us this year has been outstanding. A huge thank you is also due to the thousands of people who work at the airport, from terminal operations and security officers to cleaners and airline crew.
“They have truly worked their socks off this year and we’re planning to officially mark this milestone with a party in January.”
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “This is a fantastic milestone for Edinburgh Airport and for Scotland. It rounds off an incredible year for Edinburgh which saw the airport play its role in 2014’s exciting programme of events.”
David Birrell, chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, hailed the “fantastic milestone”.
He said: “Scotland has enjoyed one of our highest global profiles as a country in 2014 and we must try to harness as much of this energy as possible in 2015. To achieve ten million passengers is a fantastic milestone and we must all join forces to ensure that Edinburgh, and Scotland, continues to be seen as a leading destination for tourism, recreation and business in an increasingly competitive and complex global market.”