A new enhanced air service is to operate from October 2015 to the west coast airports of Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra, with Logainaiar having just been awarded the contact to supply these services.
Subsidy has been paid by the Scottish Government on the Glasgow-Tiree and Glasgow-Barra route since the mid-1970s. Under European regulations, PSOs [Public Service Obligations] were imposed in the mid-1990s to enable subsidy to continue being paid on these routes and on the Glasgow-Campbeltown route.
Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay, in making the announcement this morning underlined the fact that the new contract features a significantly enhanced service on all three routes. The services will commence in October to coincide with the Winter timetable; and the contract run for the next four years.
The new contract specifications which will improve the services, include:
- Increasing service frequency to Tiree and Barra to two returns per day from Monday to Saturday.
- Bringing forward the start date of Sunday services to Campbeltown from June to May 2016 – coincidentally the month in which the Scottish Election takes place.
- Extending Sunday services to Tiree and Barra to operate all year round.
- Delivering the service on these routes with the new state-owned Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft which entered service last month – pictured above and under the ownership of the state owned HIAL [Highlands & Islands Airpots Limited].
Mr Mackay says: ‘As Minister for Transport and Islands, I understand just how important these air links are to the local economies of Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra. This new enhanced contract will deliver an improved service for the communities that rely on these flights.
‘We have listened to local representatives to find out what we could do better and have built improved specifications into this contract to make sure the flights are supporting people, businesses and tourism. Additional services started on the Tiree route earlier this month and have already proved very popular.
‘These air links transport people, goods and services, playing a crucial role for service industries and ensuring that residents have access to specialist healthcare. They also enable visitors to reach the islands easily, boosting local tourism.
‘The routes will also be served by our new Twin Otter aircraft, which entered service last month. I had the pleasure of landing on the beach runway at Barra in one of the new planes last month, and have no doubt they will prove popular with all who travel in them.
‘I congratulate Loganair on winning this contract and l look forward to seeing these enhanced services bring benefits to the communities they serve.’
Stewart Adams, Chief Executive of Loganair, says: ‘We are extremely pleased to be awarded this contract to continue operations on the Scottish Government’s PSO air services.
‘Combined with the introduction of the new Scottish Government Twin Otter aircraft, the new specification allows us to deliver an enhanced service providing improved connectivity to each of the communities we serve.
‘We are proud to be delivering Transport Scotland’s commitment to securing these lifeline services for a further four years.’