Islanders will now be eligible for a 50% discount on air fares, as ministers described flights to remote communities as “lifeline connections”.
The new discount is an increase of 10% to the previous Air Discount Scheme (ADS) and is available for residents of Caithness and north-west Sutherland, Colonsay, Islay, Jura, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
The discount will apply to all tickets booked on or after January 1 and is also available to students who study away from home, volunteers and employees of third sector organisations.
Minister for Transport and the Islands Derek Mackay announced earlier in 2015 that the scheme would be extended until 2019.
He said: “This makes a real difference to residents of our remote communities, giving people access to significantly cheaper air fares.
“These services are lifeline connections to many of these communities, so I’m very pleased that we can help them further by increasing the ADS.
“I’ve heard a lot about the issue of high air fares in the Highlands and Islands over the past year. This increase tackles the issue directly and I hope eligible residents take full advantage of the scheme.
“These changes underline the Scottish Government’s commitment to support the communities of the Highlands and Islands.”