Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, has welcomed a response he has received from Transport Minister, Keith Brown, which confirms that the Government hopes to have an order placed with an aircraft manufacturer by the end of October 2012 to replace the aircraft currently serving the island. The intention is to have aircraft in place immediately following the expiration of the current contract at the end of March 2013.
Alasdair Allan commented: “The air routes to Barra are a lifeline service for the island and are crucial for everything from the health service to tourism. They are vitally important connections to the mainland and to Uist for the many islanders who use the service.
“There has been much pressure to ensure that the existing pair of twin otter aircraft are replaced to ensure the future of the island’s unique airport, where planes from Glasgow and Benbecula land on the beach. The Scottish Government is committed to the service and have already committed to the replacement of the two aircraft which, while meeting all safety standards are ageing and costly to maintain.
“This response I have received from the Minister for Transport confirms his commitment to the procurement of the new aircraft, giving a clear date for this, and I hope now sets out a clearer transition process next year when the current Twin Otters are currently due to come out of service.”