Travellers making a break for it as Easter rush begins

Antonia Duffy, five, and brother Ronan, six, wait to fly from Edinburgh Airport
Antonia Duffy, five, and brother Ronan, six, wait to fly from Edinburgh Airport
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EDINBURGH Airport is braced for its busiest weekend of the year as thousands of travellers across the UK gear up for an Easter getaway.

Almost 140,000 passengers will pass through the Capital’s gateway over the holiday weekend with figures showing airport traffic is up 13 per cent on last year and ten per cent higher than normal for March and April.

Gordon Robertson, head of communications at Edinburgh Airport, said that although terminals at arrivals and departures would experience high footfall this weekend, contingency plans were in place to cope with increased demand.

“People are keen to maximise the days off they have this Easter, and as a result we are preparing for a very busy weekend here at Edinburgh Airport,” he said.

“We run a well-planned security rota to cope with the peaks and have put measures in place to deal with the busy periods. We work closely with airlines and handling agents to make sure we are geared up and ready. Thursday went smoothly so we feel that it’s working well.”

Mr Robertson suggested the late Easter in 2011 – it fell on April 24 – may have contributed to the difference in passenger numbers this year.

“I think the timing of Easter is more fortuitous this year for travelling passengers,” he said.

But the spike in travellers to Edinburgh Airport may not be replicated across the rest of the city’s transport network, with experts predicting cold weather could put people off making a trip.

An AA spokesman said record fuel prices and fears over threatened industrial action, coupled with unsettled and cooler weather, could lead to a quieter Easter on the roads.

However, bottlenecks are expected on major trunk routes, according to navigational specialists Trafficmaster.

Graham Smith, data manager at the firm, said: “The M8 to Glasgow, the Forth Road Bridge and the Edinburgh bypass – in all directions – are likely to be especially busy over the Easter weekend but particularly this morning and Sunday afternoon.”

“We will get quite a lot of movement on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with some returning on Easter Monday to get back in time for work on Tuesday, although some people may be staying away all week.”

Meanwhile, Network Rail engineers will be carrying out track renewal and bridge works between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley

The works will require Glasgow-Falkirk High-Edinburgh services to be diverted via Cumbernauld and Falkirk Grahamston.

Passengers are advised to check for amended train and bus times before commencing journeys and to allow extra time for bus/train connections. Earlier departure times and longer journeys should be expected.

ScotRail will be providing replacement bus services to minimise disruption.

david.mcann@edinburghnews.com