Western Isles Labour candidate Donald Crichton has added his voice for an improved flight timetable for Western Isles offshore personnel travelling between Aberdeen and Stornoway on the service currently operated by Eastern Airways.
In a letter to Eastern Airways Chief Executive Richard Lake, Mr Crichton said: “ You will already be familiar with this service and the important link it provides for an increasing number of people working in the offshore industry from the Western Isles. It is also popular service for families with relatives in Aberdeen. The city has had a long association with the islands and this is reflected in the popularity of the service Eastern Airways provides.”
He added: “However, the importance of the offshore industry to the economy of the Western isles cannot be underestimated. It is estimated the industry contributes four to seven million pounds to the local economy annually. Crucial to offshore personnel making connections to get offshore is a flexible timetable and that simply does not exist at the present time with Eastern Airways schedule of flights from Stornoway to Aberdeen.”
Mr Crichton continued: “The revision made to the timetable last year makes it even less effective for offshore personnel travelling to and from the islands. It appears that the current Eastern Airways timetable is inadequate and is forcing people to divert through Inverness and leaving them to have an overnight stay. This need not be the case. There is a solution to this problem with either a revision of the timetable or an increase in the number of flights what would benefit offshore personnel and not least increase the profitability of the service that you provide. This would be a win win situation for the offshore personnel from the Western Isles and for your company.”
He concluded: “I would be grateful if you would give careful consideration to this and explore alternatives to improve the flight timetable that would accommodate an important economic sector of our community. This is a great opportunity to build on the good relationship that currently exists between your company and the communities of the Western Isles.”