A short 45-minute flight to Oban, rather than travelling for seven hours on board a ferry, could soon be an option for the people of Barra.
Argyll and Bute Council is making a serious case for an air link between the regions.
The local authority’s strategic transport team has submitted a bid to the UK Government’s Department for Transport for funding to cover the start-up costs of a pilot programme of summer flights between Oban and Barra and Oban and Glasgow.
A study commissioned by the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) in 2013 recommended these routes be explored on a trial basis, following feedback from the public and key economic and social organisations such as Transport Scotland and Highlands and Islands Air Limited (HIAL), which operates a number of airports throughout the region.
HIAL reported a hike in passenger numbers through Barra Airport in the third quarter of 2014 with figures up 22.4%.
Oban Airport is a key part of Argyll and Bute Council’s overall regeneration initiative for the wider Oban and Lorn area, with nine separate projects set to go ahead over the next five years, with the first of these, a project to enable a business park development on at the airport, set to get underway in September.
The leader of the Council, Councillor Dick Walsh, welcomed the news, saying: “This is another great initiative coming out of the Oban area and I fully support the drive to increase the services offered by the airport.
“Daily flights to and from Glasgow would be a massive benefit and would support the Council’s strategic vision for the Lorn area, making it far easier for people to come and do business.
“These are exciting times, with the business park access road set to go on-site in September.
“Hopefully we secure this funding from the Department for Transport but, if not, we will explore other ways to turn our intent into action.”