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[ 24-05-2013 ]

Commenting ahead of a meeting today (24 May 2013) to discuss the future of air services between Inverness and London and the south east of England, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Flybe has indicated that it will continue to maintain services between Inverness and Gatwick until 29 March 2014, so this gives all parties a period of time to work to secure future links between the Highlands and the south east of England.  Our priority is the economic interests of the Highlands and maximising the connectivity between Inverness and London in order to serve the demand that exists locally and also the vital tourism market and to attract future investment in the region.
“With Flybe signalling its intention to pull out of this particular route, we are looking to the future and will work with all parties to identify the best solution for local businesses.  We recognise that Easyjet already provides connectivity between Inverness and Gatwick, as well as Luton, and we understand that they will be discussing how they will be able to enhance these existing services to meet demand, including full consideration as to how the slots they have acquired from Flybe might be utilised to support this.
“If services are to be preserved for the long term, they must be sustainable and make commercial sense to service providers, the airport and passengers alike.  That is why it is so important that the UK and Scottish Governments act now to redefine the environment that our airports and airlines operate in.  If Highland air connectivity is to be secured then we need the removal of Air Passenger Duty from all flights, the introduction of route support for new and existing air services where required and the development of a coherent aviation policy for the whole of the UK.  Sadly all of these have to date been kicked into the long grass by Governments at Westminster and Holyrood.  It is time now to put this right while we have the chance.”