Appeal To Islanders To Save Air Service

Argyll and Bute Council is appealing to residents on Coll to save the island’s air service by filling airport-safety jobs.

The council advertised four posts each on Coll and Colonsay. These roles will enable flights to land and leave from the islands by ensuring that their airports meet CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations. The council received a good level of response from Colonsay. More roles however need to be filled on Coll if the island’s air service is to continue.

Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for Islands said: “As a council we are doing all we can to make an air service from Coll possible. Despite financial challenges, we have put funding in place to run a service. “We can’t make this happen on our own though and so are appealing for the help of islanders in delivering a service that works for them. “We will make training available, so that local people have the chance to develop additional skills and the expertise that is needed by the island is kept on the island. “We are asking islanders to get involved in a service delivered by the local community for the local community.”

Coll has had an air service for 12 years. The council currently operates flights between Coll and Tiree and Oban. The island is also served by a ferry service to and from the mainland. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) previously provided fire safety cover through a Memorandum of Understanding set up by what was at the time, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue. This enabled SFRS Volunteer Firefighters to undertake the additional role of Airport Firefighters. Following a review of this arrangement, Argyll and Bute Council and the SFRS agreed that community safety and resilience would be improved with dedicated Airport Firefighter roles. The council has therefore created and funded posts that bring together fire safety and grounds operation duties, to make it possible for the airport service to continue.

All applicants to the new posts will have training provided, which is funded by the Council. Paul Devlin, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire, said: “We have worked in close partnership with the local authority to identify and achieve the best outcomes for community safety. There is no doubt that the creation of an airport fire service further to a dedicated SFRS crew will enhance safety on Coll and Colonsay and is therefore good news for the community.”

Details of the roles can be found on www.myjobscotland.gov.uk. Applications are requested by 4 February 2020.

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