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Aberdeen Airport; Past History And Future Plans

Aug 23, 2008
Aberdeen airport is currently in third spot in terms of Scottish airports. If its flight movements are taken into account, it even ranks in the UK's top ten. Located in the area known as Dyce, around five miles from the city on a north-westerly direction it gives access to this unique Scottish city in a matter of hours from a variety of different destinations. Passenger numbers at the airport last year reached the impressive figure of nearly three and half million; startlingly, this was nearly eight percent more than the previous year. Currently the owners of the airport are the British Airports Authority, who own seven airports within the UK; despite the name the group is in fact owned by a Spanish company, the Ferrovial Group.

Today Aberdeen airport has a host of auxiliary services such as car hire desks, restaurants, cafes and nearby hotels to accommodate the needs of travellers. The two predominant airlines are bmi and Eastern although Aberdeen serves a much more important role in the oil industry, as the primary heliport for workers flying out to the North Sea oil rigs.

It was in the early thirties that the airport was originally opened. At this time it was hoped that Aberdeen would act as the primary airport servicing the transport needs of the Scottish islands whilst also providing the north of Scotland with a vital air link to London. However, later this role was taken by Inverness as it was a in a more northerly location. The war also saw Aberdeen being requisitioned by the Royal Air Force for the proposed use of protecting the northern flanks of Britain from air attacks launched by german forces in Norway. This role though never truly came into fruition and instead the site was used as a base to launch many reconnaissance sorties in Norway and other parts of Scandinavia. Like most airfields after the war, Aberdeen was returned to civilian usage.

It was however a different development that meant that Aberdeen airport would be secured as a major element in the UK's transportation network. This was the oil boom in the North Sea that provided the airport with a new reason to grow and develop. Today most experts regard Aberdeen as the busiest heliport in the world, ferrying around five hundred thousand workers to various rigs annually. In terms of helicopter movements it is estimated that over half of the operations at Aberdeen are with helicopters, a number of forty thousand.

As well as the role servicing the oil industry a large number of budget tour operators have began to charter flights from the sight to a variety of different European holiday destinations. Naturally this has meant that terminal retailers selling travel accessories, books, CDs and car hire services have all arisen to cater for the tourist passengers. Additionally, a large number of hotels have been built up in the area; including an outlet of the prestigious Hilton chain to provide both tourist, and oil company executives with a luxurious place to stay before flying.

Like most airports in the UK Aberdeen will hope to expand over the next three decades to accommodate larger passenger numbers. Undoubtedly it will remain an important link for the oil industry but if budget airlines can continue attracting flights to European destinations and if airport chiefs can secure a longer runway for transatlantic flights, Aberdeen may become a major international airport in the coming years.
About the Author
Air travel expert Thomas Pretty looks at how car hire Aberdeen airport services and the oil industry have being instrumental in the site's growth.
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