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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 Even that option has now been withdrawn.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 Stornoway?

 

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.

 

www.cne-siar.gov.uk/Loganair Presentation.pdf

www.cne-siar.gov.uk/Loganair.pdf

 

www.cne-siar.gov.uk/PSOAirServicesReview.pdf

 

Jessie M MacNeil

Barra

 

Letter:  Deterioration of inter-island air service

11 March 2017

 

Sirs,

 

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.