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Inglis Lyon, Managing Director, Highlands & Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) said: “HIAL has a long-standing commitment to work closely with Transport Scotland, airline operators, partner agencies and local communities to ensure the long-term sustainability and connectivity for the Highlands and Islands.

“The last 12 months have brought a mixture of both optimism and challenge for HIAL, and the opening of this airport railway link is a major step forward in terms of recovery for the airport and surrounding business park.

“Inverness Airport plays a key role in opening the Highlands to the rest of the world, and it is huge for the area that we join major airports around the world in having a designated rail link."

Alex Hynes, managing director of Scotland’s Railway said: “We look forward to services calling at, and passengers using, Inverness Airport and to seeing the positive impact the station will have in the area in years to come.”

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Destination Development Director, said: “The opening of Inverness Airport Railway Station is fantastic news for the region as it will not only improve accessibility but also help deliver economic and social benefit to the area. This new station will enable visitors to easily transfer from the airport to the station by bus, walking or cycling and then into the city by train - or onwards to further explore this beautiful region.”

The first train to call at Inverness Airport was piped onto the platform and Minister was welcomed by pupils from Croy Primary school who joined with Ms Gilruth to plant a tree and bury a timescale as of celebrations to mark the official opening of the new station.

The Minister then joined with guests including representatives from the local community, Highland Council, HITRANS and Inverness Airport to unveil a plaque to mark the opening of the new Highland station.

Top photograph from Transport Scotland; other photos taken last weekend by Fred Silver