A CAMPAIGN to establish regular flights to and from Skye has been given a massive boost with the initial findings of a survey showing overwhelming support for the plan.
More than 800 responses have been received so far – with 91 per cent stating they would be likely or very likely to use
a service linking the island to
Edinburgh or Glasgow.
More than 90 per cent either agreed or strongly agreed that air services to and from Skye would remove the perception that it was remote.
Currently it takes about six hours to drive to Skye from the Central Belt. Other major island groups, including Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides, have airports, but Skye’s air link was stopped in the 1980s when the subsidy was withdrawn.
RDC Aviation, an advisory and data analysis provider, has been commissioned to carry out the survey. It was appointed by Hitrans, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and
Highland Council to conduct
the independent research.
Its findings will help to assess demand and to determine which destinations could be most viable and the potential frequency of flights.
The survey is supported by campaign group FlySkye, which was set up to promote the case for the restoration of air transport links to the island for the benefit of the community and economy of Skye and Lochalsh.
Boyd Robertson, principal of the Gaelic college Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and one of the instigators of the FlySkye campaign, said: “Skye and Lochalsh needs an early resumption of air links to allow our businesses, tourist providers and communities to compete effectively in the
“The re-introduction of air links would boost economic
activity on the island and in
Lochalsh and create employment at this time of austerity.
“Sabhal Mòr would benefit greatly from the establishment of air links as it would make
our state-of-the-art facilities for seminars, short courses, conferences and other events much more accessible.”
FlySkye is also supported by Shirley Spear, owner of the Three Chimneys restaurant and the recently appointed Ambassador of the Year at the annual Highlands and Islands Tourism award.
She said: “Skye and Lochalsh as a year-round tourism and business destination would benefit considerably from establishing air links with the Central Belt, Inverness and Aberdeen.
“There is no question in my mind that the option of extending a flight to any of Scotland’s main airports onwards, with a short hop to Skye, would
bring additional visitors to Skye and Lochalsh and make the whole area an easier business destination all-round.”