RDC Aviation, a consultancy firm for the air transport industry, has declared Edinburgh International the best performing airport in the UK, despite a ten percent drop in passenger numbers.
The airport, which recently celebrated its busiest day ever, recorded an exponential rise in cargo tonnage, bucking a trend that saw commercial traffic drop by 25% throughout the rest of the UK.
Flights from Bournemouth and Cardiff helped boost domestic arrivals at Edinburgh, but the Scottish facility continued to fall to a record low of nine million annual customers – a drop of 100,000, the lowest of all UK airports.
London Stansted, East Midlands, and Robin Hood airports all saw passenger numbers plummet during 2008. Even London Heathrow, the third busiest airport in the world, lost a full one percent of its sixty-eight million customers.
With the recession in retreat, an estimated £250m has been earmarked for the re-development of many of Edinburgh’s key facilities. A new departure lounge – costing around £40m – is due to be completed in 2010. A project to resurface the main runway was also completed in November 2008.
Climate Camp Scotland, an environmental pressure group, has taken umbrage over the extension plans, and threatened to raid Edinburgh Airport as part of a wider campaign of industrial sabotage.
The group went on to destroy a key conveyor belt at a nearby Scottish Coal facility, interrupting operations, and putting 30,000 coal trucks back on the road. Diarmaid Lynch, a spokesperson for the group, described the attack as “fantastic.”
Despite the threats, however, Edinburgh airport was eventually spared the group’s brand of vigilante justice.