A £900,000 project to expand and upgrade Inverness airport has been outlined as it prepares for what could be its busiest year ever.
British Airways is starting daily flights to Heathrow and KLM will fly daily to Amsterdam Schiphol from May.
EasyJet is also expanding services to Luton and Gatwick this summer from the Highlands airport.
Airport operator Highlands and Islands Airports is to expand and upgrade the terminal building to handle the increased traffic.
The investment will see a new standalone international arrivals hall, which will house Border Force and international baggage reclaim facilities, built alongside the main terminal and linked by a covered walkway.
The new international arrivals area will free up capacity in the main terminal where the existing airside departure lounge will be extended and reconfigured to provide seating capacity for an additional 150 passengers and four new shops and catering units, including a duty free store and coffee shop.
The airport’s security search area is also being refurbished and expanded, with the revamped pre-screening area offering a faster, more streamlined process for departing passengers.
Work on the security screening area is already underway and due for completion in this month.
The new look departure lounge and international arrivals hall are due to open in May.
Inverness is the fastest growing of the 11-strong Highlands and Islands group of airports with passenger numbers up by 8% in 2015.
Airport general manager, Graeme Bell, said: “Inverness Airport has enjoyed a sustained period of growth during 2015 and our forecasts show that 2016 could well be our busiest year ever.
“This is a direct result of our success in securing new services such as Amsterdam and London Heathrow, and our efforts to grow existing hub routes such as London Gatwick and Manchester.
“We are delighted that Inverness airport is continuing to grow but acutely aware that the terminal is already congested at peak times.
“This investment will help ensure that passengers have more space to relax in a much larger departure lounge offering new catering and shopping facilities.
”The new international arrivals hall is a response to rapid growth in international traffic at Inverness.
“Over the past five years, the airport has attracted new services to Amsterdam, Dublin, Geneva and Zurich, boosting the number of international passengers from 4,205 in 2010 to 37,450 in 2015, an eightfold increase.”
He added: “International traffic has grown significantly at Inverness in recent years and the construction of a new dedicated international arrivals hall illustrates our ambition to expand our international route network further.
“We will work closely with our airline partners to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum during the redevelopment of the terminal.”
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