Battle for air links
TRANSPORT Minister Keith Brown has pledged to keep up the pressure on Westminster to protect Aberdeen’s air links.
The SNP politician said he was pressing UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond on landing slots in the Granite City after he was quizzed over the issue by Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart.
In a written reply to Mr Stewart, the former chairman of regional transport body Nestrans, Mr Brown said the issue was at the forefront of his discussions with his UK counterpart.
In a handwritten postscript, Mr Brown added: “I have been pressing P Hammond, both verbally and in writing on this.”
“The development of cross-border rail services and high speed rail in particular could be expected to make rail a more attractive proposition, although the extension of highspeed rail to Scotland appears not to be a medium-term prospect. Aviation will therefore remain the only practical option for more northern and peripheral parts of Scotland.”
Passenger numbers at Aberdeen Airport, operated by BAA, have risen for six months in a row. In July it was confirmed Aberdeen saw 287,800 passengers, up 10.1% year-on-year – the largest rise for any Scottish airport. The Dyce terminal had also announced new air links to the rest of Europe with flights from German carrier Lufthansa to Frankfurt, one of the continent’s busiest airline hubs.
Mr Stewart said: “It is vital that air links from Aberdeen to Heathrow are maintained so the North-east of Scotland can continue to be the powerhouse of the Scottish economy. Our business people must be able to access the world easily.
“I am pleased the minister recognises this and am sure he will continue to press his counterparts at Westminster to ensure these links are maintained to secure our economic future.”
Comment, Page 6
TRANSPORT HUB: Politicians say air links with Heathrow airport are vital for business.