Architectural technology students are to design a new Skye Airport – as campaigners continue to make their case for resumption of flights to and from the island after an absence of 25 years.
The project by students at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is being hailed as an “important step forward” in the drive by supporters to get an airport based at Ashaig.
Ian Blackford, who is leading the FlySkye campaign which is calling on the Scottish Government to fund a new airport, said: “FlySkye are delighted by the initiative of the UHI students in engaging on the design of the Ashaig airport.
“There is a strong and irrefutable case for the development of air services from Skye and this project is an important step forward in our campaign by being able to show graphically how the airport might look with appropriate financial support from The Scottish Government and other agencies.”
FlySkye met with a number of architectural technology students earlier this week at Ashaig.
The Honours degree students based at Inverness College will be using the Skye Airport initiative as the project for their Advanced Professional Practice module this year.
The students will work as a design team and design an 800-900 square metre terminal hub building and a maintenance hangar for a Twin Otter size of aircraft as well as road links, parking and landscaping.
The building will be capable of extension and be designed for offsite manufacture.
The students’ trip to Ashaig was their first official site visit as they undertake a design study to a comprehensive brief and offer developed concepts by the end of 2013.
Campaigners claim the project will help to reinforce the case for re-establishing Skye airport.
Ross Cairns, programme leader of Architectural Technology at Inverness College UHI, said: “We would like to thank FlySkye for giving our students this once in a lifetime opportunity of working with them on this high profile project and allowing them to showcase their skills in design and place making.
“The confidence they have gained from this so far has been fantastic. The opportunity to work on live projects and contribute to the continued success of the communities such as Skye and Lochalsh is something we are immensely proud to be involved with and we all hope that we will contribute to the first commercial flight into the Isle of Skye Airport very soon.”
FlySkye launched last year in a bid to press for an early resumption of flights to and from the Central Belt after a 24-year absence.
The new organisation says the air service is vital for businesses and island communities to survive.
Airline Loganair flew out of Ashaig until 1988, and the strip continues to be available for the use of emergency services and the military.