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Deadline extended for airline bids to provide services from Wick John O' Groats airport


By Gordon Calder

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AIRLINE companies interested in providing scheduled passenger services from Caithness have until the end of the month to put in a bid.

The deadline for tenders for the re-introduction of flights between Wick and Aberdeen and Wick and Edinburgh has been extended to noon on Tuesday, November 30.

That emerged after a visit to Wick John O' Groats airport by Highland Council leader, Margaret Davidson and chief executive, Donna Manson.

Cllr Margaret Davidson, leader of The Highland Council; Malcolm MacLeod, Highland Council's executive chief officer infrastructure & environment and Hial's north airports general manager, Dougie Cook at Wick John O'Groats airport.
Cllr Margaret Davidson, leader of The Highland Council; Malcolm MacLeod, Highland Council's executive chief officer infrastructure & environment and Hial's north airports general manager, Dougie Cook at Wick John O'Groats airport.

Highland Council is providing investment for a Public Service Obligation (PSO) – a form of subsidy – at the Caithness airport while the Scottish Government has committed £1 million a year for three years.

Councillor Davidson said: "What an outstanding facility Wick airport is. I have been very impressed to visit and view the facility today which is ready to facilitate the re-introduction of public service flights in the north of Scotland.

"The Highland Council has secured a subsidy to help re-introduce air services to the North of Scotland, Wick to Aberdeen and Wick to Edinburgh. Up to two airlines may service these routes and in collaboration with The Highland Council, the aim is to increase accessibility, desirability, and prosperity to the North of Scotland for businesses, travellers, and the local community alike.

"I am very excited with the prospect of Highland Council working with enthusiastic air service operators to help achieve these aims. Highland Council is investing in this initiative with £1million funding per annum from the Scottish Government."

She added: "Wick airport is an outstanding location for innovation where they have recently participated in trial research flights on the first electric-powered aircraft in the UK.

"I will be making a fresh approach to the UK Government about funding and investment in this innovative and ambitious location which has much to contribute both Scottish and UK national life and economy."

Donna Manson said: "During our visit on Tuesday we were very impressed with the staff team at Wick airport – who are ambitious – who work well with many local partners – and are creating excellent opportunities in innovative travel too. They are providing a very real capacity for development in the area."

Hial's north airports general manager, Dougie Cook, said: "The airport is a key link for the area, connecting the north of Scotland to the rest of the UK and further afield. Highlands and Islands Airports Limited continue to invest significantly in the infrastructure of the airport to ensure it remains ready to meet the needs of the local community. We look forward to continuing the work with our partners to create a bright future for the area."

Mr Cook thanked the Highland Council for "its continued support for the airport."


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