The Barra - Glasgow air service is funded through a PSO by the Scottish Government
and is a completely separate service from the inter island air service, not relevant
to this discussion.
Priority for the inter-island service is just that it first and foremost meets the
needs of the islands it serves.
The inter island air service was designed to provide access to and from Stornoway
for islands south of the Sound of Harris. With the withdrawal of the Barra/Benbecula
Service, Barra passengers to Stornoway must cross the Sound of Barra at 7am and fly
from Benbecula at 10am. Even that option has now been withdrawn.
1. What consideration was given to the needs of the Barra patients travelling onto
2. What consideration was given to patients from Uist and Barra travelling through
to Inverness to Raigmore Hospital where most of the consultants are based?
3. What consideration was given to the need for Health Board consultants whether
from Stornoway or Inverness to travel to Benbecula for consultation clinics, which
they do on a regular basis?
4. What discussion was there with WINHS prior to establishing this timetable?
5. Was any consideration given to the right of people from Barra to be part of the
democratic process of the Comhairle or the health board or is this a deliberate attempt
to make this more difficult?
You state in your letter that the aim was to give a longer day in Stornoway. A longer
day in Stornoway could have been achieved by delaying the departure of the afternoon
flight to Benbecula until after 4pm which would still have enabled Barra passengers
to link to the last Sound of Barra ferry sailing across the sound.
In your report to committee the only references to the new inter-island service were
the longer day in Stornoway and the link Benbecula/ Stornoway/ Inverness which I
presume is an evening link, not the morning and evening link currently available.
There was no reference to possible implications of timetable changes within the islands.
The following links give access to reports on the air service provision, on which
I assume the discussions with Loganair were based.
I note with interest the response to my recent letter from Jonathon Hinkles, managing
director of Loganair.
The subject of my letter was the change to the inter-island timetable that, instead
of improving access to services that in fact, I quote, “puts some communities in
the Western Isles at a serious disadvantage.”
The inter-island air service is funded by a public srvice obligation (PSO) by Comhairle
nan Eilean Siar, which, in turn receives such funding through its allocation from
the Scottish Government.