Is­lan­ders set to ben­e­fit from cheaper air fares

The Oban Times - - News -

IS­LAN­DERS are now el­i­gi­ble for a half-price air fares, as the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment recog­nises flights to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties as ‘life­line con­nec­tions’.

Res­i­dents of Is­lay, Jura, Colon­say, the Western Isles, Orkney, Shet­land, Caith­ness and Suther­land are now el­i­gi­ble for the dis­count, which is an in­crease of 10 per cent on the Air Dis­count Scheme which came into force last April.

The 50 per cent dis­count will ap­ply to all tick­ets booked on or af­ter Jan­uary 1, and is also avail­able to stu­dents who study away from home, vol­un­teers and employees of third sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The move has been widely wel­comed by is­land commu- ni­ties, how­ever there are no plans an­nounced to in­clude busi­nesses in the scheme.

Derek Mackay, min­is­ter for trans­port and is­lands, an­nounced last year that the scheme would be ex­tended un­til 2019. This is in con­junc­tion with the fares on gov­ern­ment-sub­sidised fer­ries also frozen dur­ing 2016-17. Mr Mackay said: ‘I’ve heard a lot about the is­sue of high air fares in the High­lands and Is­lands over the past year. This in­crease tack­les the is­sue di­rectly and I hope el­i­gi­ble res­i­dents take full ad­van­tage of the scheme.

‘Th­ese ser­vices are life­line con­nec­tions to many of th­ese com­mu­ni­ties, so I’m very pleased that we can help them fur­ther by in­creas­ing the ADS. This makes a real dif­fer­ence to res­i­dents of our re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, giv­ing peo­ple ac­cess to sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper air fares.

‘Th­ese changes un­der­line the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to sup­port the com­mu­ni­ties of the High­lands and Is­lands.’

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