Councillor Donald Crichton and Murdo Macritchie have welcomed the positive response from Eastern Airways to their calls urging them to develop the Stornoway to Aberdeen route.
Both have been campaigning for the development of the route to make the timetable for the flights more suitable for those working in the North Sea Oil Industry travelling to and from the islands.
In a letter to Mr Crichton, the company’s Commercial Director Kay Ryan expressed Eastern Airways’ desire to engage in discussion about the development of the route with the Highlands and Islands Transport Authority and other interested parties.
Ms Ryan said in her letter that she had been in contact with HITRANS and wanted to engage with interested parties in an open and constructive way and to explore possibilities in the context of the recently announced Regional Air Connectivity Fund.
Councillor Crichton said: “ I am grateful to Kay Ryan for her response to my correspondence and I welcome this positive step forward from Eastern Airways and their desire to engage in discussions about the development of the route. I also welcome the interest the Council’s Transportation Committee has now taken in the issue. I hope that a constructive dialogue can now be opened up with interested parties facilitated by HITRANS. I look forward to the dialogue beginning and exploring the possibilities for making the route more viable and suitable to passengers travelling to and from their work in the North Sea.”
He continued: “ I am grateful to Murdo Macritchie from Ness, a leading engineer in the oil industry, who has been a long time campaigner on this issue and has put a lot of work into building a case for developing the route. He should certainly have a seat round the table in those discussions representing the men and women from the Western Isles working in the oil industry.
Murdo Macritchie said: “ It is encouraging to hear that Eastern Airways are willing to discuss the air link between Stornoway and Aberdeen. This is a vitally important economic link for our islands and one that urgently needs to be developed to better meet the needs of passengers. The current schedule makes the current service virtually useless to a large proportion of regular travellers to & from Aberdeen.”