Fresh study into potential of Skye air service

Another study is underway to explore the economic benefits of re-establishing air services between Skye and the central belt.

The idea of a regular flight service to and from Ashaig has been discussed and debated for years, and in more recent times the issue has been championed by a campaign led by local business chiefs.

Now Highlands and Islands Enterprise has commissioned ekosgen consultancy to carry out the study, which will kick off with a workshop in Broadford this Wednesday (16th September). Representatives from the Fly Skye campaign will attend the workshop along with public bodies such as Highland Council, Creative Scotland and HITRANS, and a small number of local business representatives.

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Campaigners want to see larger commercial aircraft touching down at Ashaig

The project follows the 2013 Skye Air Services Feasibility Study which recommended further work to explore the wider economic and social benefits of re-introducing air services.

A key part of the study will be consultation with a wide range of local businesses and community organisations.

Stuart MacPherson of HIE, said: “Strong reliable transport links are of course crucial to a successful and competitive region. Air services from and to small rural airports can play a key role in the communities they serve, creating a sense of connectedness, providing life-line services and supporting economic growth.

“Skye is served by the road bridge and by ferry services but it is over two hours from the nearest airport and at least a five hour drvie to the central belt. We need to be clear about the full extent of the benefits of reintroducing a regular air service for the island and surrounding area as this will help inform the business case to re-establish the service.”

The existing air strip in Ashaig was opened in 1972 to serve as a gateway to the Island. Loganair operated a scheduled service from the airfield to Glasgow from 1972 to 1988 when the service was disbanded.