Voluntary groups may see return of cheap airfares

The Transport Minister, Keith Brown, has indicated to Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan that he may consider the return of the Air Discount Scheme for voluntary organisations.

Dr Allan received an “encouraging” response from Mr Brown to enquiries he has been making regarding the case for allowing voluntary organisations, including churches, to travel from island communities using the Air Discount Scheme.

Alasdair Allan commented: “A number of churches and charities have raised with me the case for their being eligible for the Air Discount Scheme when travelling on behalf of their organisations. This was an issue I first raised some time ago have pursued again in recent weeks.

“The Scottish Government operates under constrained financial circumstances but I had asked whether the Transport Minister might be able to explore means by which a distinction could be made between charitable and business-related travel when it comes to apply in the Air Discount Scheme, if the scheme is not to operate for business users.

“The Transport Minister has today indicated to me that he believes that there are grounds to look at whether the distinct characteristics of the voluntary sector should allow for the use of ADS ‘for those volunteers and employees, who are also scheme members, and travelling on behalf of their organisations’. The Scottish Government is currently pursuing this point with the European Commission and hope to be in a position to provide further information shortly.”

“I welcome the Transport Minister’s willingness to pursue this issue, and will certainly now seek further detail on where these conversations with the European Commission reach.”