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Caithness councillors 'appalled' at Loganair decision

By David G Scott

HIGHLAND councillors in both Wick and Thurso talked of their shock at hearing of the decision by Loganair to axe the service linking Caithness with Edinburgh.

The announcement by the airline came on Friday with flights from Wick John O'Groats Airport to Edinburgh due to end on March 27.

The chairman the Caithness Committee, Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor Matthew Reiss, said: “I am appalled and extremely concerned for the future of the airport and airport services at Wick."

The airline said that the decision had been made "reluctantly" and pointed to a steep decline in passenger numbers – with a further drop in bookings caused by coronavirus being a decisive factor.

The service will finish at the end of this month, with two staff being offered redeployment or redundancy.

Councillor Raymond Bremner said it is 'deeply distressing' for all involved.Picture: DGS
Councillor Raymond Bremner said it is 'deeply distressing' for all involved.Picture: DGS

This news came only 72 hours after a councillor attended a meeting of the Wick John O’Groats Airport Consultative Committee on Tuesday when an update was given by Loganair saying that it was continuing to review services over the April and May period and had no plans to cut the route.

Wick and East Caithness councillor Raymond Bremner said: “I am astonished that having attended the airport consultative committee on Tuesday – where their representative said they had no plans to cut any other flights, and would take a view over April and May – we are hearing of the axing of the main route they operate.

"It is deeply distressing for everyone involved."

Local councillors were in contact with each other on Friday morning and said they were "determined to ensure that every effort is made" to save the route to Edinburgh from being axed.

Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor Struan Mackie said: “I am absolutely furious. We need government intervention.

"It will be far harder to reinstate a route than protect the one we have and it escalates calls for a robust PSO [public service obligation] that protects connectivity in the far north.

"This also highlights how much work has been done by Caithness Chamber of Commerce so far in setting the foundations for such a service.”

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