Scottish airport charges for GA rise well above inflation

Islay Airport. Photos: HIAL
Islay Airport. Photos: HIAL

Charges at 11 Scottish airports have risen ‘well above inflation’ from 1 April 2024. The new charges include a ‘Navigation Fee’, increased landing fees and parking charges that lump all sub-10 tonne aircraft together.

In one example, a 24 hour stay on the Island of Islay would cost the pilot a total of £160.20 – in addition to overnight hospitality costs.

The new charges are from owner and operator Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), which is seeking to rebuild its finances, according to its 2023-2028 Strategic Plan.

Instead, it’s likely to lose visitors to other areas of Scotland with more realistic prices, judging by discussion on the FLYER forum.

Even the beach at Barra Airport is charging the new fees

Even the beach at Barra Airport is charging the new fees

The Islay example is made up of:

  • Landing fee £21
  • Navigation fee £15
  • Parking £97.50 for 24 hours
  • VAT on all the above (according to HIAL conditions of use)

It’s not clear whether a passenger fee of £24.20 would also be charged. Some of HIAL’s airports also levy a mandatory handling charge.

FLYER has asked HIAL for comment and an explanation of the Navigation Fee. In previous years HIAL has operated a flat rate for General Aviation aircraft which has helped make the 11 airports popular places to visit.

HIAL's 11 airports across Scotland

HIAL’s 11 airports across Scotland

In its Strategic Plan, HIAL said, “As we navigate through this difficult financial period, it is essential that we re-calibrate our goals and strategic priorities to focus on our core function.”

The plan highlights increasing revenue by:

  • Developing our conditions of use and airport charges to support route retention and maximise income
  • Revising our commercial strategy to explore alternative aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenues to support our transition to net-zero
  • Using our existing assets, resources, and infrastructure to explore the provision of additional services to generate income.

The full scale of charges can be seen on the Inverness Airport website. Similar charges apply across all 11 HIAL airports.

UPDATE (4 April 2024)

With nothing forthcoming from HIAL, FLYER contacted Transport Scotland who told us: “Airport charges are a matter for HIAL. Like all public bodies, we expect HIAL to maximise revenues and cut costs wherever possible in order to reduce costs to the taxpayer.”

Benbecula Airport is another affected

Benbecula Airport is another affected


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