New study un­der way into pos­si­bil­ity of Skye flights

The Oban Times - - News - EMMA CRICH­TON ecrich­ton@oban­

a suc­cess­ful and com­pet­i­tive re­gion. Air ser­vices from and to small ru­ral air­ports can play a key role in the com­mu­ni­ties they serve, cre­at­ing a sense of con­nect­ed­ness, pro­vid­ing life­line ser­vices and sup­port­ing eco­nomic growth.

‘Skye is served by the road bridge and by ferry ser­vices, but it is over two hours from the near­est air­port and at least a five hour drive to the cen­tral belt.

‘We need to be clear about the full ex­tent of the ben­e­fits of rein­tro­duc­ing a reg­u­lar air ser­vice for the is­land and sur­round­ing area as this will help in­form the busi­ness case to re- es­tab­lish the ser­vice.’

Ian Black­ford, MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and a mem­ber of FlySkye, a group cam­paign­ing to re­open the Ashaig airstrip to com­mer­cial flights, at­tended on Wed­nes­day, although a spokesman for the group said not enough had been done to en­gage with other rel­e­vant groups and in­di­vid­u­als.

He said: ‘ The third per­son in­volved with FlySkye was not con­sulted, nor in­vited.

‘This is quite un­ac­cept­able, par­tic­u­larly as the third per­son is the one who has con­nected with so many oth­ers on so­cial media. Be­tween Twit­ter and Face­book, we have 3,500 fol­low­ers. They are all po­ten­tial ‘stake­hold­ers’ and did not have the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend.’

A spokesman for HIE con­firmed both Mr Black­ford and Boyd Robas­dan, another mem­ber of FlySkye, at­tended the meet­ing and the study will con­sult with other busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions on a ‘one-toone ba­sis’.

Lo­ganair op­er­ated flights at Skye’s ex­ist­ing airstrip at Ashaig, Broad­ford, from its open­ing in 1972 un­til it was dis­banded in 1988.

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