Air Discount Scheme Renewed And Extended To Sutherland
6th March 2019
The Air Discount Scheme (ADS) which provides cheaper air travel for islands and north Highland residents has been extended.
The scheme month has been renewed until 31 December 2020.
The ADS was due to run out of the end of this month and approval from the European Commission was required to permit the subsidy to continue.
ADS gives provides eligible travellers with a discount of 50% on core air fares.
The discount offered was increased from 40% up to 50% in 2016 by then transport minister Derek Mackay MSP in recognition of the high costs of flying to and from areas in Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and the northof Scotland.
From April, the scheme is being extended to cover the whole of the Caithness area and further parts of Sutherland.
Students studying in the eligible areas, but whose main residence is elsewhere, will also be included in the scheme.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: "We know the Air Discount Scheme is very popular and plays a vital role in keeping our remote communities connected, so I'm delighted we can announce its renewal and extension.
"The eligibility area has been widened to include the entire Caithness postcode, as well as further parts of Sutherland, so more people than ever will be able to access cheaper air fares.
“We also want to encourage people to come to these areas to study, so students at the seven colleges within the eligible areas will now also be able to sign up to the scheme.
“This announcement directly tackles the issue of high air fares in the Highlands and Islands and underlines the Scottish Government's commitment to supporting our remote communities."
Prospect air traffic controllers in the Highlands and Islands to strike on 26th April 2019 over pay. Prospect air traffic controllers working for Highlands and Islands Airport Limited will be taking strike action on the 26th of April in relation to their 2018-19 pay offer.
Prospect has confirmed arrangements for balloting air traffic controllers at Highlands and Islands Airports Limited on industrial action. The ballot will open on 11 February and close on 1 March.
Regional airport operator HIAL has handled more passengers than ever, according to latest figures for the last financial year. The airport group, which operates 11 airports across Scotland, handled 1,437,625 passengers in 2015/16, up by more than 6000 on the previous year.
Airport operator HIAL's strong run of growth in 2015 continued in the last quarter according to latest figures. In the third quarter (July to September), the group recorded an extra 12,522 passengers (up 3.1%) compared to the same period in 2014.
Island airports soar but overall numbers dip slightly at HIAL. Passenger numbers at HIAL's regional airport fell slightly in the third quarter of the year, though a number of island airports reported soaring growth.
Passenger numbers at regional airport operator HIAL climbed to their highest ever level in the latest financial year, as the group stepped up its investment for the future. The company's annual report and accounts for the year 2013/14 show that almost 70,000 extra passengers used the group's 11 airports during the year.
Passenger numbers at HIAL's regional airports grew by almost 8000 during the last quarter, with the group's island airports driving growth. Latest figures for the last quarter (April - June) show that passenger numbers at HIAL’s 11 airports grew by 7806, an increase of 2.2% on the same quarter last year.
* Energy sector drives huge growth at Sumburgh and Wick John O’Groats * Extra 70,000 passengers across the group * Sumburgh is Scotland’s fastest growing airport * Inverness enjoys best performance for five years * But smaller airports affected by reduced capacity Scottish regional airport operator HIAL has recorded its busiest ever year, attracting an extra 70,000 passengers over the past 12 months, according to latest figures. HIAL’s 11 airports handled 1,367,342 passengers in the 2013/14 financial year, an increase of 5.4% on the previous year (an additional 69,666 passengers).
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Wick John O'Groats Airport is well placed to capture a greater share of the energy market, says Airport Station Manager William Sutherland. His remarks followed a visit by Alan Simpson, Integrated Planning and Turnaround Manager at Chevron, to mark the end of the company's year-long presence at the airport.
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