Flying start – well maybe not!

Ashaig/Broadford air strip.This blog has been set up to relate the “probably woeful” tale of the attempt to instigate a scheduled air service from the Isle of Skye to the central belt of Scotland.

Am I in favour, you can bet on that – I’ve commuted 850,000 miles from Skye since I moved here in 2001 – and I’ve written off three cars. Mainly due to the heavy usage and the odd large ruminant encountered during the night, along with my frequent drives from Skye to other parts of the British Isles. I would probably be a regular user of an air service to/from Skye, the closest location where I’m going to get work is the Edinburgh or Glasgow area. Frequently my work will be much further away. The last few jobs being in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Birmingham, Swindon and Portsmouth in order of distance.

I’m sure that some smart ass is going to suggest that the options for flying between the above locations and Skye will be limited, well I’m sure that they are probably right. But I would point out that in 1973 I booked a single ticket from Hong Kong all the way to Islay, although my luggage ended up in New Zealand the flight itself went very well. So there probably isn’t a problem with the flights from Skye, especially if there is a larger airline behind the attempt.

I mean, here we have an island (Islay) with a population of around 4,500 verses an island (Skye) with a population of around 11,000 – it’s a no brainer – isn’t it? I’d like to point out that one has a scheduled air service and the other doesn’t, how does that work? – can the demographic be so different? This may well be just the start of a protracted campaign for the instigation of an air service from the Isle of Skye, there also is an official site here – recommending the same things and with the support of a number of people from the local Skye area.

The Western Isles of Scotland have a wonderful heritage, in fact one to be envied by other parts of the world. We are independent in our own thoughts, have a fantastic share of the good things of the world. After all, we make the best Whisky in the world – despite what the people from the east of the country say. We enjoy some of the finest sea food restaurants in the world, in fact three of the worlds top eating establishments are in Skye, so why don’t we have a local air service?

Well there is always the Skye listing on the forgotten airfields site as an explanation, again how does that work? We live on a major Island, where people have forgotten that they are the users of the service. I understand that Charles Kennedy our local MP is behind this suggested airport as part of his new image and approach to his work, I have to say that he has my total support for this project as far as it goes. He is a local man and understands the needs of the local people, well done Mr Kennedy!

If there are any readers old enough to remember the way that thing used to work, they will appreciate the fact that we will have to do this on our own. The studies seem to suggest that there will be 14,500 seats a year used, I hope that it’s twice that and that the airlines decide that we’ll need more than 29,000 seats a year. It may be unlikely, we may well find that we don’t have the passenger numbers to validate a daily air service from the central belt – if that’s the case we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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