Following the report published in March this year by HIE on the economic and social benefits of a proposed air service between Skye and the Central Belt, Skye Aerodrome was under the spotlight at yesterday’s meeting of the Skye and Raasay Committee.

As well as discussing  the report and the updated report which was submitted to first meeting of the new HITRANS Board in June,  local members looked at the current commercial operation activities at the aerodrome and approved changes that will see revised tariffs introduced and the development of an on-line Prior Permission Required (PPR) booking system.

Current charging levels are in place for commercial and non-commercial aircrafts as well as for parking and passenger load. Changes to charges approved by the Committee include the introduction of an annual Landing Loyalty card for customers offering a free fifth landing after four full price landings and a set charge of £1950 per day for the use of the aerodrome for filming, sporting and musical events.

Members were also advised that £15,000 of maintenance improvement works to areas of the aerodrome are expected to be carried out before the end of this financial year as part of a programme of works officers are developing. 

Further work is currently underway reviewing the comprehensive technical information by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) by a cross agency officer group involving Highland Council, HITRANS and HIE with a view of developing an indicative airfield layout plan, based on the essential infrastructure required to support scheduled air services

Area Chair, Councillor John Gordon said: “It was good to have the opportunity today to look at making changes to improve the operational side of things and also look forward to the potential development of scheduled air services to and from Skye and get an update on how work to take this forward is progressing.

“From what is happening elsewhere around the globe we can see how air services to and from small rural airports is playing a key role in supporting economic and community growth. Benefits include better connectivity and greater access to markets as well as attracting overseas visitors. As a Committee we look forward to working with HIE and HITRANS to press the case for the reintroduction of air links.”