EDINBURGH Airport had landed itself in the UK’s top five busiest airports for the first time after growing passenger numbers pushed it ahead of Birmingham and Luton.
Bosses said the airport’s year-on-year growth recovered better from the effects of the volcanic ash cloud – even though it was worse affected at the time.
Kevin Brown, managing director, said: “This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and its airport and reflects the status of the capital as a major European destination.
“It underlines Edinburgh’s importance to Scotland and the UK as a whole, and can only assist us as we compete to bring more flights to Scotland.”
He said July was the airport’s best month yet, and that consistent growth since then had pushed it into the “upper league” of UK airports.
Passenger numbers had been steady since June and a month-on-month growth is expected to continue well into 2011.
The top five UK airports in the year ending October 2010 are Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Mr Brown said the airport’s success had been built on its reputation as a “responsive and ambitious” place with which to do business, and on the city itself.
He said: “This combination makes Edinburgh Airport a fantastic proposition and is the key to our growth in what has been an incredibly tough period for aviation.
“We’ll continue to focus on delighting our customers and look forward to more growth in 2011 that will see us cement our position in the top five UK airports.”
But, the news was met with some concern from environmentalists, who say airports should be playing their part in the reduction of climate change.
Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “In an era of climate change, the fact the airport is getting busier is nothing to be proud of.
“The majority of flights from Edinburgh are short haul – this is simply contributing to the problem of climate change which we will all have to bear the cost of.”
Edinburgh was Scotland’s busiest airport last year, and handled over nine million passengers.