Inverness Airport

This article is about the international airport in the Scottish Highlands. For the airport in Florida, United States, see Inverness Airport (Florida).
Inverness Airport
Port-adhair Inbhir Nis
Airport type Private
Owner/Operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited
Serves Inverness, Scotland
Location Dalcross, Highland
Elevation AMSL 31 ft / 9 m
Coordinates 57°32′33″N 004°02′51″W / 57.54250°N 4.04750°W / 57.54250; -4.04750Coordinates: 57°32′33″N 004°02′51″W / 57.54250°N 4.04750°W / 57.54250; -4.04750

Location in Highland Council Area

Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 1,887 6,191 Asphalt
12/30 700 2,297 Asphalt
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 612,725
Passenger change 13-14 Increase0.7%
Aircraft Movements 28,495
Movements change 13-14 Decrease1.6%
Sources: UK AIP at NATS[1]
Statistics from the UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Inverness Airport (Scottish Gaelic: Port-adhair Inbhir Nis) (IATA: INV, ICAO: EGPE) is an international airport situated at Dalcross, 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) north east of the city of Inverness in Scotland. It is owned by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL). The airport is the main gateway for travellers to the north of Scotland with a range of scheduled services throughout the United Kingdom, and limited scheduled service to Continental Europe. Limited charter and freight flights operate throughout the UK and Europe. Around 610,000 passengers passed through the airport in 2014.[2]


Early years

The airfield was built by the Air Ministry in 1940 as Royal Air Force station Dalcross (RAF Dalcross), and was in use during World War II from 1940-45. The airport was opened for civil operations in 1947. British European Airways, one of the predecessors to British Airways, commenced flights to London Heathrow Airport in the mid-1970s using a combination of Hawker Siddeley Trident jets and Vickers Viscounts. By the late 1970s and early 1980s there were two daily flights between Inverness and Heathrow, however the route was discontinued in 1983 on the grounds of poor financial performance. Dan-Air inherited the service and offered a three-times daily service. The airline sustained the route adding links to London Gatwick and Manchester in the late 1980s, however these new services proved not to be successful and were discontinued.

When Dan Air was bought by British Airways in 1992, the flag carrier retained the service for a further five years, adding a fourth daily frequency shortly before withdrawing the link, amid considerable controversy and public anger, in autumn 1997. British Airways transferred the London service to Gatwick, operated by its subsidiary on a three-times daily basis using lower capacity BAe 146 regional jets. The emergence of EasyJet as a force in UK aviation coincided with the launch of a daily service to London Luton in 1996. Other destinations and airlines were added (Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle), particularly after 2003, where HIAL's marketing efforts were assisted by route development fund support from the Scottish Executive. The London Heathrow link was re-instated in 2004, by BMI on a daily frequency, however the service was discontinued in March 2008, the airline citing rising costs at Heathrow as the reason.

Development since 2009

In 2009 Ryanair cut its last routes to East Midlands Airport and Liverpool in June, 2009, this was during a review of routes in which Inverness was ranked as one of the worst in the network. The runway is too short to allow a fully laden B737-800 to take off. Eastern Airways launched services to Manchester and Birmingham using a mix of Jetstream31,Jetstream41 and SAAB2000 turboprops, however, when Flybe started flying the same routes in 2008 Eastern decided to withdraw.

International scheduled services proved difficult to successfully establish until the late 2000s, when a weekly seasonal service between Düsseldorf and Inverness commenced in Summer 2009, operated by Lufthansa CityLine, and in 2011 when Flybe commenced daily operations to Amsterdam. The now defunct Snowflake (a low cost subsidiary of SAS) operated a twice weekly service to Stockholm in the summer of 2004, however the service was withdrawn after a short period of operations due to lack of demand. KLM UK operated a daily service to Amsterdam via Edinburgh in 1997 but this was short-lived, lasting only a few months. ScotAirways launched a service to Amsterdam in 2001, however this was withdrawn following the events of 11 September. A four times weekly service to Dublin was operated by Aer Arann between 2006 and 2008 using ATR 42 aircraft before being withdrawn due to the effects of escalating fuel prices.

In 2004 Thomson Holidays launched a short series of peak season charter flights to Palma (Mallorca), Ibiza and Lanzarote using a Spanair A320, flights to Palma were maintained (and Costa Dorada (Reus) was added for a couple of seasons) through to 2010. Newmarket Holidays still operates various charters from Inverness on selected dates throughout the year.

The airport terminal is notable as an early example of the Public-private partnership favoured by the UK Government. HIAL was criticised for a PFI deal signed to build a new terminal at Inverness Airport. The deal signed by HIAL meant it had to pay £3.50 for every passenger flying from the airport to the PFI operator. In 2006, the PFI deal was cancelled, costing the Scottish Executive £27.5 million.[3]

The airport is a hub on the Highlands and Islands network where flights between the islands, and other UK and European destinations connect. Flybe (and franchise partner Loganair) is currently the largest operator at Inverness, followed by EasyJet.

The south apron, the main parking area for aircraft, was upgraded in May 2012 to improve access to the terminal by long-range aircraft.[4] In November 2013 the airport’s mile long runway was resurfaced and the taxiway extended, providing a link to the site of the Inverness Airport Business Park.[5]

On 3 May 2016, British Airways reinstated daily flights to London Heathrow Airport after an absence of 19 years.[6]

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter services at Inverness Airport:[7]

British Airways London-Heathrow
easyJet Bristol, London-Gatwick, London-Luton
easyJet Switzerland Seasonal: Geneva
Flybe Belfast-City, Birmingham
Seasonal: Jersey
operated by Loganair
Benbecula, Dublin, Kirkwall, Manchester, Stornoway, Sumburgh (all end 31 August 2017)
Seasonal: Bergen (ends 31 August 2017)
Helvetic Airways Seasonal: Zürich
operated by KLM Cityhopper
Loganair Benbecula, Dublin, Kirkwall, Manchester, Stornoway, Sumburgh (all begin 1 September 2017)[8]
Seasonal: Bergen (begins 1 September 2017)
Thomson Airways Seasonal: Palma de Mallorca


Inverness airport had 612,725 passengers in 2014, which was an increase of 0.7% from 2013. Gatwick Airport was again the most popular destination with just under 200,000 passengers. Yet even though this was a drop of more than twelve percent from 2013, this route still accounts for more than thirty percent of all passenger traffic at Inverness Airport. Shown below are the top fifteen destinations in 2014, each with more than 1,500 passengers or more than 0.25% of total traffic.

Check-in hall
Runway 05
Busiest international routes (2014)
Rank Destination Passengers % Change
2013 / 14
1 Amsterdam36,414 Increase 13.7
2 Dublin3,601 Steady New Route
3 Jersey1,790 Increase 3.2
4 Geneva1,552 Increase 150.7
Busiest domestic or local routes (2014)
Rank Destination Passengers % Change
2013 / 14
1 London Gatwick193,713 Decrease 12.4
2 London Luton90,577 Decrease 2.7
3 Bristol77,594 Decrease 4.5
4 Manchester70,462 Increase 26.3
5 Birmingham41,234 Increase 18.0
6 Stornoway34,732 Increase 2.6
7 Belfast City27,376 Increase 16.8
8 Kirkwall, Orkney19,111 Decrease 0.5
9 London City7,613 Steady New Route
10 Benbecula5,985 Increase 274.8
11 Sumburgh, Shetland3,401 Increase 4.2
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority[2]

Ground transportation


Bus services operate between Inverness Airport, Inverness and Nairn. Stagecoach in Inverness run between the airport and Inverness city centre close to the railway station.


There is no station at Inverness Airport, although the Aberdeen to Inverness Line runs along the southern perimeter of the airfield. A new station at the airport has been proposed recently,[9] however at present the nearest stations are Nairn or Inverness, both about 9 mi (14 km) away.


The airport is 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) northeast[1] of the city of Inverness just off the main A96 Aberdeen-Inverness trunk road.

Access from the A96 was previously by a single track road (suitable only for smaller vehicles) or alternatively by the B9093 Ardersier road. When the airport installed the new instrument landing system the single track road had to be closed altogether. In April 2006 a new road, Inverness Airport Way, was opened providing full access to all vehicles from the airport direct to the A96. The new road skirts the western perimeter of the airport in a large loop and is provided with ‘wig-wag’ signals if road traffic needs to be stopped during aircraft landing/take off.

Taxis are available directly in front of the terminal building.

Highland Aviation Museum

This museum is situated in the Dalcross Industrial Estate immediately adjacent to the airport. It has four complete aircraft and several aircraft noses on display. The museum is open to the public at weekends and bank holidays.


Media related to Inverness Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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