Inverness Airport

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Inverness Airport
Port-adhair Inbhir Nis
Inverness (Dalcross) Airport - - 564487.jpg
Airport type Private
Owner/Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
Serves Inverness
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
EGPE is located in Highland
Location in Highland Council Area
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 1,887 6,191 Asphalt
12/30 700 2,297 Asphalt
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 783,017
Passenger change 15-16 Increase17.0%
Aircraft Movements 30,450
Movements change 15-16 Increase1.9%
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, Scotland. It is owned by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL). The airport is the main gateway for travellers to the north of Scotland with a range of scheduled services throughout the United Kingdom, and limited scheduled service to Continental Europe. Limited charter and freight flights operate throughout the UK and Europe. Around 780,000 passengers passed through the airport in 2016.[2]


Early years[edit]

The airfield was built by the Air Ministry in 1940 as Royal Air Force station Dalcross (RAF Dalcross), and was in use during the Second World War. The airport was opened for civil operations in 1947. British European Airways, one of the predecessors of British Airways, commenced flights to London-Heathrow in the mid-1970s using a combination of Hawker Siddeley Trident jets and Vickers Viscounts. In 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 and offered a three-times daily service. 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.[citation needed]

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,[citation needed] 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 coincided with the launch of a daily service to London-Luton in 1996. Other destinations and airlines were added including; (Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle), particularly after 2003, where HIAL's marketing efforts were assisted by route development fund support from the Scottish Executive. The Heathrow link was reinstated at a daily frequency in 2004 by BMI; however, the service was discontinued in March 2008, the airline citing rising costs at Heathrow as the reason.

Development since 2009[edit]

In 2004, Thomson Holidays launched a short series of peak season charter flights to Palma de Mallorca), Ibiza and Lanzarote using Spanair aircraft, flights to Palma were maintained (and 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.

Ryanair cut its last routes to East Midlands 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. Eastern Airways launched services to Manchester and Birmingham. 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 operation, owing 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, before being withdrawn owing to escalating fuel prices.

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]

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.

The south apron, the main parking area for aircraft, was upgraded in May 2012 to improve access to the terminal by long-range aircraft.[4] In November 2013 the airport's mile long runway was resurfaced and the taxiway extended, providing a link to the site of the Inverness Airport Business Park.[5]

On 3 May 2016, British Airways reinstated daily flights to Heathrow after an absence of 19 years.[6] As a result of this, Swissport launched ground handling services at the airport.

Historic Route with Lorient (South Brittany)[edit]

Since 1974, Inverness has been serviced weekly by non-commercial routes with Lorient (the 1st fishing port of France[7]) in South Brittany. The companies Air Lorient,[8] Diwan (Air Provence International) and Air Bretagne[9] ensured the transport of sailors to the advanced bases in Scotland. Since 2005, Air ITM (Groupe Intermarché) has been responsible for the repatriation and replacement of sailors on the jet aircraft of 09 seats.[10]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services at Inverness Airport:[11]

Airlines Destinations
British Airways London-Heathrow
easyJet Bristol, London-Gatwick, London-Luton
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich (begins 3 July 2018)[12]
Flybe Belfast-City, Birmingham
Seasonal: Jersey
Helvetic Airways Seasonal: Zürich
operated by KLM Cityhopper
Loganair Benbecula, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh[13]
operated by BMI Regional
Dublin, Manchester
Thomson Airways
operated by Air Europa
Seasonal: Palma de Mallorca


Inverness Airport had 783,017 passengers in 2016, which was an increase of 17% from 2015. Gatwick Airport was again the most popular destination with 237,927 passengers. This route accounts for more than thirty percent of all passenger traffic at Inverness Airport. Shown below are the top fifteen destinations in 2016.

Check-in hall
Runway 05
Busiest routes to and from Inverness (2016)[14]
Rank Airport Total
2015 / 16
1 London–Gatwick 237,927 Increase 14.9%
2 London–Luton 133,945 Increase 43.2%
3 Bristol 87,714 Increase 6.4%
4 Manchester 68,244 Decrease 19.2%
5 London–Heathrow 57,879 New route
6 Birmingham 42,480 Increase 2.7%
7 Amsterdam 41,750 Increase 25.8%
8 Stornoway 31,198 Increase 15.0%
9 Belfast–City 30,286 Increase 3.7%
10 Kirkwall 19,216 Decrease 3.5%
11 Dublin 19,016 Decrease 22.3%
12 Sumburgh 3,546 Decrease 5.0%
13 Geneva 2,303 Increase 38.6%
14 Jersey 1,925 Decrease 7.5%
15 Zürich 702 Decrease 68.2%

Ground transport[edit]


Bus services operate between Inverness Airport, Inverness, Nairn and Elgin. Stagecoach in Inverness run between the airport and Inverness city centre close to the railway station. Jet bus offers a 24-hour service between Inverness Centre and the Airport, every 20 min at peak times and then at the hour off peak Monday - Saturday.


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 was approved in February 2017 and could open by the end of 2018,[15] at present the nearest stations are Nairn and Inverness, both about 9 mi (14 km) away.


The airport is 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) northeast[1] of the city of Inverness just off the main A96 Aberdeen-Inverness trunk road.

Access from the A96 was previously by a single track road (suitable only for smaller vehicles) or alternatively by the B9093 Ardersier road. When the airport installed the new instrument landing system the single track road had to be closed altogether. In April 2006 a new road, Inverness Airport Way, was opened providing full access to all vehicles from the airport direct to the A96. The new road skirts the western perimeter of the airport in a large loop and is provided with ‘wig-wag’ signals if road traffic needs to be stopped during aircraft landing/take off.

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.


  1. ^ a b Inverness - EGPE
  2. ^ a b "Aircraft and passenger traffic data from UK airports". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 11 March 2017. Retrieved 11 March 2017. 
  3. ^ "Deal to buy out airport terminal". BBC News. 20 January 2006. 
  4. ^ "Work to start on Inverness Airport upgrade". BBC News. 9 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Munro, Alistair (5 November 2013). "Inverness Airport upgrade gets underway". The Scotsman. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "British Airways reinstates Inverness to Heathrow route". BBC News. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "Lorient reste le premier port de pêche de France". (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-06. 
  8. ^ "Air Lorient (1974-1986) page 09". Archives Nationales francaises. 
  9. ^ "Un parfum de success story flotte sur Air Bretagne". le Télégramme. 21 janvier 2000.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Transport des marins de Lorient à Inverness". Ouest France. 29 Septembre 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ - Destinations retrieved 4 May 2016
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Airport Data 2016". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 3 March 2017. Tables 12.1(XLS) and 12.2 (XLS). Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  15. ^ "New £5m train station to be built at Inverness Airport". Retrieved 2017-02-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Inverness Airport at Wikimedia Commons