View Full Version : Air links support sought

12-Jun-13, 13:56
Highland Council leader to seek London links backing
THE leader of Highland Council is to seek the support of his colleagues on an influential EU Committee to secure the long-term future of key air links from the Highlands to London.
Councillor Drew Hendry, who is the sole UK representative to the Committee of Peripheral Maritime Regions Political Bureau, is to make a presentation later in the summer to the General Assembly of the European Committee of the Regions, highlighting the need for long-term security of air links to the Highlands and Islands to hub airports. The issue has been brought into sharp focus recently due to the sale of slots at Gatwick Airport. Councillor Hendry will highlight the need for long term resilience rather than reliance on individual airline operators to maintain a fragile service.
He got the go ahead to formally present the issue while attending a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Committee of the Regions in Sweden at the weekend.
Councillor Hendry has been prominent in the ongoing work to retain the links the Highlands have with Gatwick Airport, London.
Flybe, who currently provide three return flights between Inverness and Gatwick, have sold the three daily slots at Gatwick to easyJet. FlyBe withdraw from the route in March of next year.
Together with partners in the business world and public sector, the Council has held talks with easyJet to retain a high level of service on the route.
Councillor Hendry said: “Having met with easyJet we are hopeful they will recognise the huge importance to the Highland travelling public and business community of being able to do a day’s business in London and to connect to world destinations.
“What I will be raising in Europe is the need for resilience of these services as, in our case, we are entirely in the hands of a single operator for London Gatwick and we need to first protect, then broaden our outlook to establish other hubs for air connectivity.
“Many other peripheral regions in Europe face the same challenge of retaining slots into hub airports, so this international focus on the issue will hopefully help to steer policy on this issue in Europe.”