Highlands & Islands

New airport on Skye in two years, suggest Highland Council

Runway on the Isle of Skye
Image caption The airstrip near Broadford on Skye

Highland Council has said that a new airport could be built on Skye in about two years if plans for more flights to and from Glasgow are progressed.

Councillors have approved the executive summary of a final draft business case for the flights.

Loganair ran services from Ashaig Airfield, near Broadford, to Glasgow until 1988. Loch Lomond Seaplanes still uses the strip for scheduled flights.

Feedback on the summary is now to be sought from Transport Scotland.

Highland Council, public transport body Hitrans and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) have been investigating the potential for more flights for Skye.

The organisations believe the project would bring socio-economic benefits to the island and the wider Highland area.

They have calculated that over 30 years the flights could generate in the region of £36m to £46m, depending on whether nine-seat or 19-seat aircraft were used.

The strip near Broadford was built in the 1970s by Army engineers, and appears briefly in a scene from the 1980 film Flash Gordon, which starred Sam J Jones, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed.

The strip remains available to the emergency services and scheduled commercial flights.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Highland Council and other public bodies believe the flights would bring socio-economic benefits to Skye

Ian Blackford, SNP MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber and a long-time campaigner for more flights, had earlier urged Highland Council's Isle of Skye and Raasay committee to approve the executive summary.

After the committee's meeting, its chairman Drew Millar said: "This is a very exciting report.

"The reintroduction of scheduled flights to Skye would be an enormous boost to our local economy and the cost benefit analysis clearly proves how valuable this would be.

"I would like to thank council officers and partners in Hitrans and HIE for preparing this business case and moving things considerably forward."

Leader of the council, Margaret Davidson, added: "The importance of regional airports, including Skye, was raised just last week by councillor Allan Henderson at the meeting of the Islands Transport Forum, which I understand was a very positive meeting.

"Good transport links, including regional air connectivity, are vital to the economic success of communities in the Highlands and Islands.

"People want to come and visit our beautiful region and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to access all that we have to offer."

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