Government must step in to support lifeline services between Inverness and Shetland, says MSP
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A Highland and Islands MSP has said the government must step in to secure services to remote and rural communities.
Rhoda Grant was speaking after the news today that Loganair has withdrawn its service between Inverness and Shetland .
The commercial airline said it had made the 'difficult decision to remove the service after a downturn in demand, due to coronavirus.
Mrs Grant said: “This is a huge blow to people who need to travel between Shetland and Inverness.
“Aviation has been very badly affected by Covid-19 and the ensuing restrictions.
“However, these are lifeline services and should be recognised as such.
She added: "While Loganair have endeavoured to keep transport links open, they cannot do this without intervention and it shows the need for more Public Service Obligations to protect our routes to our islands and remote communities.”
Earlier today, Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “Changing flights and suspending routes is a step we do not take lightly, but where travel demand remains at less than half of last year’s levels due to the pandemic, we simply cannot fly near-empty aeroplanes to maintain a full schedule.
"Unlike other forms of public transport, Loganair’s services are operated on a commercial basis – if we carry no passengers, we receive no income.
"To safeguard the future of the remaining services, we have had to take action to adjust our schedule for the coming winter and plan to maintain our schedule from Sumburgh to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Kirkwall.”