NEW flights between Scotland and the Isle of Man will provide a boost for tourism and business, the First Minister said.
Alex Salmond was speaking as he welcomed Isle of Man chief minister Allan Bell to Glasgow.
The two politicians had previously pledged to work together to restore the direct air link in advance of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.
Air company Citywing is now operating nine flights a week between Glasgow and Ronaldsway airports.
The First Minister said he was “delighted” to welcome Mr Bell to Scotland “on one of the first reinstated flights between Glasgow and the Isle of Man”.
Mr Salmond added: “During my visit to the Isle of Man last summer, the chief minister and I made a pledge to restore these flights between Scotland and the Isle of Man in time for the Commonwealth Games and both Governments have worked hard together to make this happen. I’d also like to congratulate Glasgow Airport and Citywing on their efforts in securing this important route.
“These flights will serve as a symbol of the close historical, social and cultural links between Scotland and the Isle of Man, providing a boost to tourism and business on both sides of the water.”
Mr Bell said: “The return of direct flights between the Isle of Man and Scotland is fantastic news for both countries and an example of what can be achieved when we act in partnership with our neighbours. Both governments, together with Citywing, have worked hard to make this happen.
“The air route between us was simply too important to lose and its restoration will stimulate tourism and business on both sides of the water.”
Citywing managing director David Buck said: “We are delighted to be able to provide direct flights between the Isle of Man and Scotland, it is extremely vital as a business and tourism link. In the long term, we are confident that the social and economic benefits of this transport link will continue to grow. This will in turn bring significant benefits to both communities.”