Loganair’s stance on refusing full refunds to passengers who were unable to travel by air and were instead offered ferry and bus tickets is one the airline should consider looking at again.
The airline makes good business from the Western Isles where the airlink is a lifeline to the mainland.
I expect the small print in bookings will dissolve the airline of a legal obligation to refund passengers who did take up their alternative transport offer, but simply put, they should be looking to compensate travellers more.
In addition to being hit in the pocket many travellers were forced to make a much longer journey and some even missed connecting flights at the other end.
Another point of concern should be the inadequacy of the second runway where payload weight restrictions meant flight numbers were hugely restricted.
At a time when transport links from the island are becoming ever more important having a suitable secondary runway should be a matter of priority for the Western Isles.
Having travelled through many airports over a number years and more lately through Stornoway, the recent debacle at Stornoway airport has caused me to put pen to paper.
First, Stornoway airport is minuscule in size, yet its security is insane if not bonkers. Passengers are reduced to chattels to be humiliated almost to the point of being stripped searched like criminals.
Second, airport staff seem unable to provide basic information no matter how politely they are asked.
Third, Loganair seem to be wholly incompetent as evidenced by recent events. A small plane is blown to one side on a runway and chaos results. In this 21st century we have the ludicrous situation of a mere five to seven passengers being allowed to board flights.
The rest are shoved off to board a ship without help, sympathy, assistance and little by way of compensation.
Fourth, despite all the claims of looking after the islands, why has Stornoway only got one decent runway while the other is useless hence the shambles over getting passengers onboard aircraft?
In short, Lewis people are treated with contempt and indifference by airport authorities and airline.
Politicians are constantly bleating of Scotland’s progress, yet they too ignore Lewis. Roads, Internet connection, airport etc are equivalent to a third world country.
Since Labour and the SNP have been in charge for years it is painfully evident they have failed the islands and the islands don’t matter.
My advice to Island voters, next time vote anyone but SNP and Labour. Their record of failure is plain to see.
Invest in economy
In the next month or so the Lochboisdale Regeneration Scheme started by Storas Uibhist more than a year back will come to its conclusion.
In the same time period Lochboisdale will be lucky if three of its existing retail businesses are still around.
The amount of money ploughed into the regeneration scheme has to be admired but its results have to call in to question the appropriate response to need and public funding.
The village of Lochboisdale has three retail businesses struggling to survive, a bank that has reduced its opening hours and a filling station that has been unable to sell fuel for several weeks so where exactly is the regeneration?
The more important question is, after squandering millions of pounds on a vanity project, what do the public authorities plan to do to actually invest in the economy, not just of Lochboisdale, but the whole of Uist and Barra that will provide useful jobs and keep people on the islands?
Is the Dr David Wilson, who has emerged as Angus MacNeil’s mouthpiece on the Minch interconnector issue (Letters Nov 27), by any chance related to Dr David Wilson who stood for the SNP in the last Comhairle elections and received a derisory number of votes?
If so, it is difficult to understand why Dr Wilson (the mouthpiece) should be praising Mr MacNeil for his alleged efforts to secure an interconnector since Dr Wilson (the candidate) campaigned on the platform that “industrial scale windfarms must be resisted” because they would “inflict massive damage on our tourism industry”.
Without wind farms large enough to justify an interconnector, there is obviously no point in campaigning for an interconnector. In fact the one sure way of achieving Dr Wilson (the candidate’s) objective is by ensuring that the interconnector never happens – which may well be an objective which Mr MacNeil shares, so long as someone else can be blamed.
In view of his selection of a mouthpiece who has expressed strong views diametrically opposed to the outcome which he is supposedly working so hard to achieve, would it not be helpful if the MP himself now clarified his position, assuming (generously) that he knows what it is?
The hundreds of islanders who have been failed by promises of employment in the renewables industry deserve a straight answer. Or will the SNP continue to rely on their time-honoured principle that two faces are better than one?
Chair, Western Isles Labour Party
Food for thought
It appears that the Labour Party is in an absolute shambles.
On the same day as chastising the Scottish Government for what it sees as a waste of £95m in introducing free school meals for all Primary 1 to 3 year olds in Scotland, Labour renews its support for the replacement of Trident, at a cost of £100 billion.
Free school meals will benefit 113,000 children, boosting health and attainment at school, vital support at a time when in-work poverty is rocketing. It Is indeed a bizarre situation when the Labour Party is happy to put bombs before bairns.
The NSPCC would like to take this opportunity to thank Gazette readers in the Western Isles who have supported their work during the last year. Without the backing of local people the NSPCC would not be able to help abused children rebuild their lives, or be there for parents who desperately need advice and support.
As the charity moves into 2015 the NSPCC would like to appeal to readers to make a very special kind of New Year’s resolution.
‘Just One Day’ is a call for people to come forward and volunteer some time to support the charity’s work – even if people can only spare one day, it will be a massive help.
There are many different ways that people can volunteer their time including becoming an NSPCC ChildLine Schools Service volunteer; becoming a ChildLine helpline counsellor; getting involved in an event by setting up stalls or taking photographs, or cheering on NSPCC participants in a sporting race or activity.
Abuse ruins childhood, but it can be prevented. That’s why the NSPCC is here in Scotland. That’s what drives the work, and that’s why – as long as there’s abuse the NSPCC will fight for every childhood.
Please join us in the fight for every childhood by volunteering some time to support NSPCC Scotland. To find out more call 0141 420 3816 or log on to nspcc.org.uk/volunteer.