Inverness Airport

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This article is about the international airport in the Scottish Highlands. For the airport in Florida, United States, see Inverness Airport (Florida).
Inverness Airport
Port-adhair Inbhir Nis
Inverness (Dalcross) Airport - geograph.org.uk - 564487.jpg
IATA: INVICAO: EGPE
Summary
Airport type Private
Owner/Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
Serves Inverness, Scotland
Location Dalcross, Highland
Elevation AMSL 31 ft / 9 m
Coordinates 57°32′33″N 004°02′51″W / 57.54250°N 4.04750°W / 57.54250; -4.04750Coordinates: 57°32′33″N 004°02′51″W / 57.54250°N 4.04750°W / 57.54250; -4.04750
Website hial.co.uk
Map
EGPE is located in Highland
EGPE
EGPE
Location in Highland Council Area
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 1,887 6,191 Asphalt
12/30 700 2,297 Asphalt
Statistics (2013)
Passengers 608,184
Passenger change 12-13 Increase0.7%
Aircraft Movements 28,947
Movements change 12-13 Decrease8.9%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Inverness Airport (Scottish Gaelic: Port-adhair Inbhir Nis) (IATA: INVICAO: EGPE) is an international airport situated at Dalcross, 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) north east of the city of Inverness in Scotland. The airport is the main gateway for travellers to the north of Scotland with a wide range of scheduled services throughout the United Kingdom, and limited scheduled service to Continental Europe. Limited charter and freight flights also operate throughout the UK and Europe. Around 600,000 passengers passed through the airport in 2013.[2] It is owned by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) which owns most of the regional airports in mainland Scotland and the outlying islands.

History[edit]

The airport was originally used by the Royal Air Force during World War II and was opened for civil operations in 1947. British European Airways, one of the predecessors to British Airways, commenced flights to London Heathrow Airport in the mid-1970s using a combination of Hawker Siddeley Trident jets and Vickers Viscounts (4-engined turboprops). By the late 1970s and early 1980s there were two daily flights between Inverness and Heathrow, however the route was discontinued in 1983 on the grounds of poor financial performance. Dan-Air inherited the service, offering a three-times daily service using initially a based BAC 1-11 jets followed in the early 1990s by Boeing 737-200 aircraft. The airline sustained the route adding links to London Gatwick and Manchester in the late 1980s, however these new services proved not to be successful and were discontinued.

When Dan Air was bought by British Airways in 1992, the flag carrier retained the service for a further five years, adding a fourth daily frequency shortly before withdrawing the link, amid considerable controversy and public anger, in autumn 1997. British Airways transferred the London service to Gatwick, operated by its subsidiary on a three-times daily basis using lower capacity BAe 146 regional jets. The emergence of EasyJet as a force in UK aviation also coincided with the launch of a daily service to London Luton in 1996. Other destinations and airlines were added (Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle), particularly after 2003, where HIALs's marketing efforts were assisted by route development fund support from the Scottish Executive. The London Heathrow link was re-instated in 2004, by BMI on a daily frequency, however the service was discontinued in March 2008, the airline citing rising costs at Heathrow as the reason. In 2009 Ryanair cut its last routes to East Midlands Airport and Liverpool in June, 2009, this was during a review of routes in which Inverness was ranked as one of the worst in the network. The runway is also too short to allow a fully laden B737-800 to take off. Eastern Airways launched services to Manchester and Birmingham using a mix of Jetstream31,Jetstream41 and SAAB2000 turboprops, however, when flybe started flying the same routes in 2008 Eastern decided to withdraw.

International scheduled services proved difficult to successfully establish until the late 2000s, when a weekly seasonal service between Düsseldorf and Inverness commenced in Summer 2009, operated by Lufthansa CityLine, and in 2011 when Flybe commenced daily operations to Amsterdam. The now defunct Snowflake (a low cost subsidiary of SAS) operated a twice weekly service to Stockholm in the summer of 2004, however the service was withdrawn after a short period of operations due to lack of demand. KLM UK operated a daily service to Amsterdam via Edinburgh in 1997 but this was short-lived, lasting only a few months. ScotAirways launched a service to Amsterdam in 2001, however this was withdrawn following the events of 11 September. A four times weekly service to Dublin was operated by Aer Arann between 2006 and 2008 using ATR 42 aircraft before being withdrawn due to the effects of escalating fuel prices.

In 2004 Thomson Holidays, the UK's No1 Tour Operator launched a short series of peak season charter flights to Palma (Mallorca), Ibiza and Lanzarote using a Spanair A320, flights to Palma were maintained (and Costa Dorada (Reus) was added for a couple of seasons) through to 2010. Newmarket Holidays still operates various charters from Inverness on selected dates throughout the year.

The airport terminal is notable as an early example of the Public-private partnership favoured by the UK Government. HIAL was criticised for a PFI deal signed to build a new terminal at Inverness Airport. The deal signed by HIAL meant it had to pay £3.50 for every passenger flying from the airport to the PFI operator. In 2006, the PFI deal was cancelled, costing the Scottish Executive £27.5 million.[3]

Present day[edit]

Check-in area at Inverness Airport

The airport is a hub on the Highlands and Islands network where flights between the islands, and other UK and European destinations connect. Flybe (and franchise partner Loganair) is currently the largest operator at Inverness, followed by EasyJet.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airlines Destinations
easyJet Bristol, London-Gatwick, London-Luton
Flybe Amsterdam, Belfast-City, Birmingham, Dublin (begins 26 October 2014), London-City (begins 27 October 2014), Manchester
Seasonal: Geneva, Jersey
Flybe
operated by Loganair
Benbecula, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh
Seasonal: Bergen

Statistics[edit]

Busiest Routes to and from Inverness Airport (2012)
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
2011 / 12
1 United Kingdom - London Gatwick Airport 230,442 Increase 4
2 United Kingdom - London Luton Airport 89,910 Decrease 11
3 United Kingdom - Bristol Airport 78,072 Increase 4
4 United Kingdom - Manchester Airport 50,998 Increase 4
5 United Kingdom - Stornoway Airport 36,249 nm
6 United Kingdom - Birmingham Airport 33,023 Increase 9
7 Netherlands - Amsterdam Airport 26,280 Increase 298
8 United Kingdom - Belfast City Airport 23,903 Increase 12
9 United Kingdom - Kirkwall Airport 16,810 Decrease 16
10 United Kingdom - Sumburgh Airport 4,244 Increase 8
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[1]

Ground transportation[edit]

Bus[edit]

Improved bus services are now operating between Inverness Airport, Inverness and Nairn. Stagecoach in Inverness route 11/11A runs every 30 minutes between the airport and Inverness city centre close to the railway station.

Rail[edit]

There is no station at Inverness Airport, although the Aberdeen to Inverness Line runs along the southern perimeter of the airfield. A new station at the airport has been proposed recently, however at present the nearest stations are Nairn or Inverness, both about 9 mi (14 km) away.

Road[edit]

The airport is located 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) northeast[1] of the city of Inverness just off the main A96 Aberdeen-Inverness trunk road and is clearly sign-posted from all directions.

Taxis are available directly in front of the terminal building.

Highland Aviation Museum[edit]

This museum is situated in the Dalcross Industrial Estate immediately adjacent to the airport. It has four complete aircraft and several aircraft noses on display. The museum is open to the public at weekends and bank holidays.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Inverness Airport at Wikimedia Commons