Scotland's regional airports are outperforming their European counterparts in terms of passenger growth, according to new figures.
Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL), which operates a network of 11 regional airports across the country, recorded a 5% growth in passenger numbers in the first six months of 2012.
It was more than double the European average of 1.8% for airports with 5m passengers or less when compared to the same period last year, according to figures released by the industry body Airports Council International.
The group's two busiest airports, Inverness and Sumburgh, saw passenger numbers rise by 9.6% and 10.4% respectively between January and June.
The group's other airports also include Tiree, Dundee, Stornoway and Wick.
Managing director Inglis Lyon said: "Despite the impact of the recession, our airports have enjoyed a good start to the new financial year with passenger numbers up by 3.8% across the group - and by even more at Inverness and Sumburgh - which is considerably higher than the European average for airports with less than five million passengers.”
However, last month HIAL said passenger numbers fell by 1.3% to 126,698. It said the slight drop was "in common with other Scottish and UK airports".
Only Inverness and Tiree recorded a rise in passenger demand in July, with Inverness up 0.5% and Tiree up 3%.
A drop in business traffic during the school holidays, schedule changes, weather disruption and the Olympics may have been behind the fall, HIAL said.
Mr Lyon added: “Clearly, last month's results were less encouraging but we are hopeful that growth will continue.
"Much will depend on the strength of the economy, which is a key driver for business and leisure travel.
"Market conditions are tough but we are punching above our weight compared to other airports in Europe."
In 2011/12, HIAL – which employs around 600 people across 11 airports - handled almost 1.26m passengers, a rise of 8.7% on the previous financial year.