Spared or Saved?

A&B Council announced on the 3rd of May that an interim contract had been agreed for Coll, Colonsay and Tiree air services,whilst ‘an update on the four-year contract will be provided in due course, once the outcome of the second procurement process has been fully assessed.’

What does this mean? No cessation, but a reduction in the current service, to Wednesdays-only, till 15 October. We have to remember that there was no award under the original tender (Nov 2018) which meant that with no action/ reappraisal the air service Tiree to/from Oban would cease as of 15th May 2019 . Consequently A&BC decided on a second procurement process ie a re-tender to close on 8th May 2019.

The tender was discussed at the recent joint TCC/TCDT meeting with Fergus Murray Head of Economic Development and Strategic Transport at Argyll and Bute Council. He was reluctant to report the outcome of the tender for commercial reasons, by virtue of this interim contract, TCC feels it is reasonable to assume there may be a positive outcome for services continuing after October 2019.

But what kind of service? We have to assume it will be reduced, but to what extent is an unknown. We discussed opportunities for the service, including the possibility that Friday’s Coll Scholar Service could be extended to Tiree, and marketed as an Air Taxi service comparable to rural services in eg NZ. He advised that was for Tiree to take up with whoever was running the service,assuming there would be a positive outcome to the current procurement process.

Hopefully by the next edition of AnT we will have the outcome of A&BC’s second procurement exercise.

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