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Inverness Airport; Fundamental Link In The Transportation Network Of Scotland

Aug 9, 2008
Inverness airport is one of the most important airports in Scotland. It is located at Dalcross, a site that is approximately seven miles away from the city of Inverness. Dalcross lies close to both the city and the highlands meaning that for the essential Scottish experience it can be considered the ideal gateway. Much of northern Scotland is easily accessible from Inverness airport; because of this great position, coach tour companies and car hire services have arisen at the airport to accommodate the needs of travellers. It is not just the rugged and beautiful rural areas that are accessible from the airport however, the city itself is a must see for all in visiting the region.

Ownership of the airport lies with the Highlands and Islands Airports Limited; this body, holds responsibility for the Dalcross site as well as many of the other airports located on the outlying islands that lay to north of Scotland. It is estimated that annually over seven hundred thousand passengers pass through the airport. Most of these passengers use the airport as a stopover destination that allows further travel to the Hebridean Islands although other destinations are flown to from the site. Of the passengers, some will visit the majestic Highlands regions and the coast; as a result, a number of different car hire companies, hotels and coach tour operators have began operations.

Like the majority of the airports in the UK, Inverness was originally a military airbase used by the RAF. After the war however the site returned to civil use and began flying domestic flights south to major airports in England. The first flyer to make use of Inverness airport was BEF (British European Airways). This company was one of the precursors to the national flyer, British Airways and originally ran a service from Inverness to London Heathrow. This route however struggled to achieve the projected passenger numbers and was eventually scrapped. However a different company, Dan Air, started to run flights to both Gatwick and Manchester during the eighties but once again, had trouble achieving profits.

British Airways eventually bought out Dan Air in the early nineties who kept a service going until 1997. Once again this service was withdrawn despite the protestations of the local residents. The late nineties however saw a large increase in the number of budget airlines flying from many of the UK's airports. Even with this growth in budget air travel, international destinations have struggled to be forthcoming to and from the airport. In recent years, the most popular route has remained a domestic one, the link to Gatwick, giving islanders and locals access to one of the major UK airports for destinations further afield.

This can be considered the most important function of Inverness. Even with large numbers of shops, restaurants, car hire desks and cafes, the site remains a vital link in the transport network serving the north of Scotland and the islands. As a result of this purpose many small to middling size aircraft use the airport on a regular basis flying to all of the islands that have runways. This gives islanders the chance to fly into Inverness and then fly onto a major airport where international flights are more readily available. As well as this function, the airport plays an extensive role in supplying postal, cargo and emergency services to the islands.

Today Inverness Airport, despite having limited international destinations provides a vital air link to the north of Scotland and the Hebridean Islands. In terms of development airport chiefs are keen to increase the numbers of cafes, shops, car hire desks and restaurants as well as other terminal facilities. Whatever does happen, the place of Inverness in the Scottish transportation network is assured. The link it provides from the mainland to islands means that the extremities of Britain are made a little less remote.
About the Author
Air travel expert Thomas Pretty looks at how car hire Inverness Airport services have helped in the site's development.
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