easyJet flew more than 6.4m passengers to and from Scotland during 2016, a record for any airline.
This is an 11% increase on the previous year and 30% more than five years ago. 2m of those passengers were travelling for business.
Of the 6.4m, Edinburgh accounted for just over 3.6m passengers with Glasgow accounting for just over 2m passengers. Inverness and Aberdeen accounted for around 480,000 passengers and 231,000 respectively.
easyJet is the largest airline in Scotland carrying almost one in four Scottish travellers and in calendar 2017 will grow further with an increase in the number of seats on sale of around 5% to over 7.4m. Additionally, the airline will also position a second A320 aircraft in Glasgow from March 2017 and will also retrofit its current Glasgow based A320 to a 186 seat configuration.
The airline offers a diverse portfolio of routes in Scotland catering for outbound and inbound demand. Passenger traffic is an almost equal split in directionality with nearly half of passengers travelling inbound to Scotland delivering significant investment into Scotland.
easyJet is also continuing to expand the number of destinations available from Scotland and in April 2017 will launch a new flight between Edinburgh and Bilbao. The new year-round service, which is expected to carry around 40,000 passengers in the first year of operation, is expected to operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays on an A320 aircraft.
Sophie Dekkers, UK Director for easyJet, commented: “As Scotland’s largest airline carrying more than 6m passengers annually, we offer an unrivalled network of over 60 routes served from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness.
“We remain committed to growing in Scotland and easyJet not only supports Scottish tourism and business travel but also ensures it is easy and affordable for Scots to have direct air links to so many European destinations.
“Scotland’s appeal as both a leisure and business destination stretches beyond Europe and in calendar year 2016 over 100,000 bookings were made by passengers from outside Europe on routes involving Scottish airports. Of those over 37,000 were from the United States and over 8,000 from the Far East including 2,000 from China.
“This growth can continue well into the future if the Scottish Government continues with its plans to cut Air Passenger Duty by 50% for all flights from Scotland. If the Scottish Government confirms soon that this reduction will take effect from April 2018 we would expect to increase easyJet services by around 30%.”
Around 60% of the airline’s total capacity is UK domestic, with over 30% of seats linking Scotland with some the largest European cities, including Amsterdam, Paris, Athens, Milan, Prague and Berlin. easyJet also offers alternative destinations such as Iceland and a range of ski routes including Lyon, Grenoble and routes to Geneva from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness.
easyJet operates 840 flights in and out of Scotland per week in peak summer and now flies over 6 million passengers to 44 airports in 18 countries from Scotland.