The campaign for a new airport for Skye, Raasay and the western Highlands at Ashaig near Broadford has won wider support in recent months.
The key argument is about expense…but an article for The Skye Magazine on-line, editor Fred Silver concludes that the costs of building a new airport are miniscule compared both to the likely gains to the local economy and to infrastructure costs elsewhere, particularly as there is no chance at all of any significant improvements in the roads to Skye through the Highlands.
Even the most expensive airport option, which would allow 40-seater planes to land, comes in at a shade under £50 million. Sounds a lot, but around £70 million has just been invested in the Stornoway to Ullapool ferry route, and the Isles of Harris and North Uist are having more than £30 million spent on a new ferry and improved port facilities. Yet since the Skye Bridge was completed in 1995, there has been no significant infrastructure gain for the Isle of Skye. (And ferries have to be replaced every 20 to 30 years whereas building the airport is a one-off investment.)
To put it in perspective, I calculate the £50m spend involved in the costliest Skye airport option would have built just 700 metres of tramway in Edinburgh; and would have taken just 14 per cent of the total Scottish Government underspend in 2014-15. It amounts to 0.0000015 per cent of the total Scottish Government budget. And, anyway, the present Highland Council plan is to go for the lesser airport option which costs half that much.
Read more on… http://www.magazinehebrides.com/index.php/the-skye-magazine/25-life/198-cheap-at-the-price-the-gains-from-a-new-airport-on-skye