Islanders set to benefit from cheaper air fares
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.’