More flights to Heathrow ‘boosts lo­cal econ­omy’

Daily busi­ness com­mute now pos­si­ble as BA al­most dou­bles fre­quency of In­ver­ness ser­vice

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALIS­TAIR MUNRO

AN EX­PAN­SION of vi­tal air links be­tween In­ver­ness and Heathrow has been hailed an eco­nomic “gamechanger” for the High­lands.

Bri­tish Air­ways, which rein­tro­duced the con­nec­tion in 2016 af­ter a 10-year ab­sence, is to in­crease the num­ber of flights be­tween the High­land cap­i­tal and Lon­don – and is in­tro­duc­ing a new morn­ing ser­vice from In­ver­ness to en­able a daily com­mute for busi­ness pas­sen­gers.

There will be two daily re­turn ser­vices dur­ing the week and three at week­ends from next March.

Inglis Lyon, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of High­lands and Is­lands Air­ports, said: “The in­creased fre­quency of flights to Heathrow re­ally is a game-changer for In­ver­ness and the High­lands and is­lands.

“It opens up a host of new con­nec­tions and des­ti­na­tions via one of the world’s great avi­a­tion hubs.

“Lo­cal busi­nesses will ben­e­fit from greater con­nec­tiv­ity with Lon­don and be­yond,” added Mr Lyon.

Phyl­lis Stu­art, Bri­tish Air­ways’ air­port man­ager in In­ver­ness, who an­nounced the ex­pan­sion yes­ter­day, said: “The new sched­ule will bring greater eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the re­gion. We have seen steady growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers at both ends of the route and this fur­ther ex­pan­sion is tes­ta­ment to the sup­port our part­ners at In­ver­ness Air­port have given us.”

Busi­ness lead­ers, politi­cians and air­port bosses have hailed an ex­pan­sion of air ser­vices be­tween In­ver­ness and Heathrow as a “gamechanger” – claim­ing it will pro­vide a huge eco­nomic boost to the High­lands.

Bri­tish Air­ways is to “sig­nif­i­cantly” in­crease the num­ber of flights be­tween the High­land cap­i­tal and Lon­don, with a new morn­ing ser­vice from In­ver­ness en­abling a daily com­mute for busi­ness pas­sen­gers.

The air­line, who rein­tro­duced a ser­vice in 2016 af­ter an ab­sence of around a decade, will in­crease weekly flights from 10 to 16 in the sum­mer, with win­ter weekly flights go­ing from seven to 14.

Inglis Lyon, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of High­lands and Is­lands Air­ports, said: “The in­creased fre­quency of flights to Heathrow re­ally is a game changer for In­ver­ness and the High­lands and Is­lands.

“It opens up a host of new con­nec­tions and des­ti­na­tions via one of the world’s great avi­a­tion hubs, mean­ing many more peo­ple can travel to and from our re­gion on one ticket.

“Lo­cal busi­nesses will ben­e­fit from greater con­nec­tiv­ity with Lon­don and be­yond and it opens up op­por­tu­ni­ties for visi­tors to ac­cess all that the area has to of­fer.”

Ste­wart Ni­col, chief ex­ec­u­tive of In­ver­ness Cham­ber of Com­merce, de­scribed the news as “ex­cel­lent” for the north.

He added: “This de­vel­op­ment will have sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits for the re­gion, im­prov­ing con­nec­tions for busi­ness trav­ellers and in­creas­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the grow­ing num­ber of visi­tors to our area.”

High­land Coun­cil leader Mar­garet David­son said im­proved air links was “a key ask” in the City Re­gion Deal, adding: “This news is a vote of con­fi­dence in the High­land econ­omy and will be wel­comed by busi­ness, res­i­dents and visi­tors.”

MSP David Ste­wart said: “With ex­tra week­end flights now in­cluded, this im­proves op­por­tu­ni­ties for those wish­ing to travel on hol­i­day across the world and of course more im­por­tantly those wish­ing to come and visit the iconic parts of the High­lands, Is­lands and Mo­ray, boost­ing the lo­cal econ­omy with bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity.”

Ranald Robert­son, HITRANS part­ner­ship di­rec­tor, added: “The abil­ity for pas­sen­gers to not only make re­turn day trips to and from Lon­don but also ben­e­fit from im­proved on­ward con­nec­tions to des­ti­na­tions around the globe that Heathrow serves is vi­tal for our lo­cal econ­omy.

“This is a key com­mit­ment of the In­ver­ness City Re­gion Deal and we look for­ward to work­ing with both Scot­tish and UK govern­ments to en­sure that this good news is built on.”

North Tory MSP Ed­ward Moun­tain MSP said: “I’ve al­ways sup­ported in­creased flights to In­ver­ness as a way of boost­ing the High­land econ­omy and our re­gion’s thriv­ing tourism in­dus­try so I am de­lighted that BA is ex­pand­ing its ser­vices.”

Phyl­lis Stu­art, BA air­port man­ager in In­ver­ness, said: “We have been able to in­crease flights to In­ver­ness be­cause the air­port is ex­empt from air pas­sen­ger duty.

“Since we rein­tro­duced the daily ser­vice be­tween In­ver­ness and Heathrow we have seen steady growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers at both ends of the route and this fur­ther ex­pan­sion is tes­ta­ment to the sup­port our part­ners at In­ver­ness Air­port and the peo­ple and busi­ness com­mu­nity of the High­lands and Is­lands have given us.

“The new sched­ule will bring greater eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the re­gion and the ex­tra flights on Satur­days and Sun­days will cater for the num­ber of leisure pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling dur­ing the sum­mer months.”

TRAVEL: In­creased fre­quency of flights will ben­e­fit busi­nesses with a greater con­nec­tiv­ity to Lon­don from the High­lands and Is­lands

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