Highlands & Islands

Government rules out funding Skye flights

Runway on the Isle of Skye
Image caption Loganair flew commercial flights until the late 1980s

The Scottish government has said it has no plans to fund the return of flights to and from Skye.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said the air services would need significant capital investment and subsidy.

He said government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd would be willing to give advice to groups that have been calling for the flights.

The minister's comments were contained in answers to questions from Labour MSP David Stewart.

Mr Stewart said the government's responses were disappointing.

Mr Brown said the resumption of commercial flights from Skye would have to be funded at a local level by Highland Council, which owns the site, and transport body Hitrans.

Feasibility study

Loganair flew out of Ashaig Airfield, near Broadford, until 1988. The air strip remains available to the emergency services.

Resuming commercial flights could require capital spending of between £9.7m and £15.3m, according to a feasibility study published in March.

However, investment of only about £2.3m to £2.8m would be needed if the length and width of the small runway met with the Civil Aviation Authority's approval.

Agreements would also have to be reached with the Department for Transport on security fencing, airline operators on hangars and the fire service on what facilities it would require to keep costs down.

Capital expenditure would rise if the airstrip had to meet certain standards on runways, such as length, width and requirements on runway end safety areas.

The Skye Air Services Feasibility Study looked at what would be needed before scheduled services could resume.

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