Will We Lose The Saab 340

Saab 340 aircraft

At a meeting on Monday 6th December the Tiree Airport Consultative Committee (TACC) members agreed to contact the Scottish Government’s Transportation Division following revelations and recent press comment that the Government, through their asset owning agency Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), are planning the imminent purchase of two new Twin Otter aircraft from Canada for use on the Campbeltown, Barra and Tiree routes.

All three `lifeline’ routes are financially supported by the Scottish Government through a mechanism called `public service obligations’, or PSO’s for short. TACC members have learned that the Scottish Government Transportation Department Officials and Minister have already visited Barra to give assurances and to make promises to the public with regard to the future of the Glasgow to Barra air service.

While the Twin Otter has been an excellent aircraft for Tiree, and is apparently the only aircraft that can continue to serve Barra with the unusual beach take off and landing, members of the TACC felt that the needs of each island are quite different, as Tiree passenger numbers have steadily grown over recent years due to the introduction by Loganair/FlyBe on the Glasgow-Tiree route of the Saab 340. Resilience, and also the capacity to grow the Glasgow-Tiree service, should our route be served purely by the new Twin Otter aircraft, were two concerns expressed by TACC members.

Kenny Crawford, Head of Aviation Transport Scotland, has been invited to visit Tiree to discuss the island’s needs and to explain the Government’s proposals and vision for the future of Glasgow – Tiree PSO. He has agreed to come in the New year and has said that no decision on ordering aircraft will be made before 2012.

Any community group/s that have concerns regarding the Government proposals should make their views known to Ann Kirby at the Tiree Trust who will be coordinating a response to the Scottish Government’s Transportation Department.

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