PASSENGER numbers at Edinburgh Airport have exceeded the ten million barrier for the first time – following a strong performance in December.
The record-breaking feat means the terminal is now the busiest in Scotland with a total of 10,174,684 passengers passing through the airport in 2014.
Long-haul flights to Doha, Chicago and Philadelphia have been credited with adding to growth. Long-haul traffic has soared by 89.6 per cent on last year.
The airport surpassed the ten million milestone on December 23 – marking a four per cent increase on passenger figures from 2013.
Gordon Dewar, the airport’s chief executive, said the award-winning airport would not rest on its laurels and has promised more routes and greater investment in services this year.
He said: “2014 has been an unprecedented year for Scotland as a whole and we’re proud to have played our part in its success.
“We want to harness the successes of the last year and use this to drive our performance over the next 12 months.”
The announcement is encouraging news for Edinburgh’s economy and has helped to cement the Capital’s reputation as a top tourist destination, said Councillor Frank Ross, the city economy leader.
He added: “We know that increased activity in terms of passenger numbers translates into economic benefits for the city and beyond, as well as creating new and better jobs for the local and wider economy.
“The increase in passengers means more investment than ever before and reinforces Edinburgh’s deserved reputation as a top destination for tourists all year round not just during the summer.”
Rising numbers were welcomed by Colin Keir, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Western, who said passengers would get a better deal when air passenger duty was abolished.
The Smith Commission announced in November that the control over the tax would be devolved to Holyrood and the SNP has committed to reform that could see the levy abolished.
Mr Keir said: “Along with the environmental advantages of direct flying the passenger gets a better deal by cutting down on the obscene air passenger duty which they would be required to pay if they use another UK airport such as Heathrow.”
He added: “When the airport works well it has a tremendous knock-on effect on the local and national business community and with more direct flights business and tourist travellers benefit through lower costs and faster journeys.”
Domestic traffic was also up three per cent thanks to new flights to London Stansted with Ryanair and London City with FlyBe.