LONDON – For the first time in five years, Edinburgh Airport (EDI) has recorded negative growth in terms of passenger movements. In total, 1,309,170 passengers passed through EDI in October 2019, which represents a one percent decrease compared to the same time last year.

Commenting on the news was a modest Gordon Dewar, the CEO of Edinburgh Airport, who acknowledged that this percentage drop was expected.

“We’ve had almost 60 months of continuous growth and it’s unfortunate that we’ve seen this temporary fall in passenger numbers – something we earlier this year predicted would happen,” he said.

Photo: Ad Meskens

This is the first passenger number drop since the Beast from the East, a major thunderstorm, forced hundreds of flight cancellations and delays.

Dewar put the blame on the drop to the ADT, or Air Departure Tax, that is in place by the Scottish Government.

“It shows us that growth is not guaranteed and it is only possible with hard work and a collaborative approach. The arguments around ADT are well known and we cannot hide the fact that we now have yet another obstacle to work around to deliver that growth that has become expected,” he said.

“Connectivity is important to Scotland and our initial talks with the Scottish Government about bringing the world closer to Scotland have been positive.”

Dewar explained that as an airport, EDI plays its part in tourism, business, education, research, and culture, “so ensuring a sustainable future for the industry is very important. We need to work together to deliver that.”

The main contributor to this drop appears to be on the domestic segment, with 458,686 passengers on that market, representing a 6.1% decrease.

The international market did well, however, recording a 2% growth rate, logging 850,484 passengers.

PHOTO: Edinburgh Airport.

However, the airport seems to be on track to exceed annual passenger numbers with the current figure at 14,771,472, which is 4.8% up compared to last year.

If ADT is removed by the Scottish Government, it is likely that it will encourage airlines to reduce the airfare for the consumer, translating into higher usage of the airport’s facilities by a larger number of passengers.

As Edinburgh Airport reflects on this, the aim now will be to get back into the positive, as it has done for so many months.