Architectural technology students at the University of the Highlands and Islands working on a Skye air service project visited the island last week to present their plans for an airport terminal facility.
The honours degree students based at Inverness College are using the Skye airport initiative as the project for their advanced professional practice module this year.
The students presented their initial plans to an audience at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig comprising pressure group FlySkye, local councillors and architectural firms, members of the airport project group consisting of HIE, Hitrans and Highland Council and a number of other invited guests.
SMO principal, Boyd Robertson, speaking on behalf of the triumvirate leading the FlySkye campaign, said: “We are delighted to have received the presentation from the students at Inverness College which presents a very clear vision as to how the airport facilities at Ashaig could look.
“The students have taken full account of the local environment and built heritage and have also considered carefully how to develop an attractive destination that will present a welcoming facility for those arriving on the island.
“We believe there is an irrefutable case for the restoration of air services to, and from, Skye and being able to demonstrate how the facilities might look will assist us in presenting the case to Government and public agencies. Having discussed the draft plans with the students we look forward to seeing the completed plans in May of this year.”
The meeting at SMO also offered FlySkye the opportunity to have a catch-up with the project group, whose representatives are due to meet with the Civil Aviation Authority at the end of this month. Ian Blackford of FlySkye said: “We are pleased that the detailed work on establishing the case for air services is progressing and we welcome the imminent engagement by the project group with the CAA which is critical to agreeing much of the detail on the operation of the airfield.”
Ross Cairns of UHI, programme leader for the students’ course, said: “The students have really grasped the ethos of FlySkye and its aim to invigorate Skye with air links and the undoubted business and tourist capture this will bring. Their design is a 21st century contemporary architectural style with strong focus on low-carbon design but is also unmistakably Skye with the tetrahedral roof to mimic the Cuillins and technical touches such as the potential for it to be expanded as the airport grows much like an accordion bellows.”
Recent studies have suggested infrastructure upgrades of just over £2 million, along with annual subsidies of around £350,000, could deliver a flight service operated by a 19-seater Twin Otter plane. Skye has been without a scheduled air service since 1988.