Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar raised Eastern Airways decision to withdraw their service between Stornoway and Aberdeen with Nicola Sturgeon, at First Minister’s Questions today. The service ends tomorrow, and islanders were only notified three weeks ago, without consultation.
This decision is very much at odds with previous statements from the company, which have historically outlined a commitment to this service, and to island connectivity. The company also announced an expansion to this particular service, with increased flights just 7 months ago, back in March. In light of this, the announcement has come as a significant surprise.
Commenting, Dr Allan said:
“Given Eastern Airways’ very disappointing decision to end this service, at such short notice, I felt compelled to raise this very important issue with the First Minister.
“I am pleased that the First Minister offered her assurances that her government is committed to ensuring connectivity between Scotland’s islands and the mainland, and has now asked the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, and Connectivity to engage with the airline.
“Eastern Airways’ decision to withdraw this service was done without consultation, and with totally inadequate notice. Residents in our islands who work in the oil and gas sector will be disadvantaged by this decision, and it has come as a major shock, given the previous statements by the company asserting a commitment to this route, and serving our islands.”
FMQs Official Report Extract below
- Dr Alasdair Allan (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP):
- The First Minister will be aware that Eastern Airways recently cancelled its Stornoway to Aberdeen service, with effect from tomorrow. What more can the Scottish Government and its agencies do to ensure the economic viability of air services to and from the Western Isles, particularly for those of my constituents who work in the oil and gas sectors?
- The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon):
- I can understand Alasdair Allan’s concerns about that. We have to ensure that connectivity between all our islands—including those in Alasdair Allan’s constituency—and the mainland encourages sustainability, both economically and in a range of other ways. I am happy to ask the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity to engage with him and with the airline to see whether there is more that the Scottish Government can and should do to address his concerns.