The comhairle has been accused of imposing “unacceptable” changes to inter-island
plane links, providing a worse service for Uist and Barra.
The new public service obligation contract, which is operated by Loganair on behalf
of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, will begin in April.
Since the council axed a plane link to Barra, passengers have to take the early morning
ferry from Barra to Eriskay to connect with the 10.05am plane from Benbecula to Stornoway.
But now Barra passengers will miss the new flight departure time of 8.40am
In another criticism, passengers from Benbecula will no longer be able to connect
with the morning flight to Inverness. Instead, they will have to endure a wait at
Stornoway Airport until 5pm.
Councillor Donald Manford said: “How is it that this council’s political administration,
even in its death throes, continues to vandalise transportation connections throughout
the Hebrides and beyond?”
“The ongoing dismantling of “through transport” inflicted by this council must be
reversed to the services we had prior to the election of this current council.”
MP Angus MacNeil said: “This timetable is unacceptable.
“We have to remember that four years ago there were good air services for all the
Western Isles until the Scottish Government removed ring fencing and councillors
at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar opportunistically and shamelessly pockled the extra
money that it was given specifically for its smaller island communities.
“This is a massive breach of trust to both those communities and indeed the Scottish
Government, these latest unreal developments add insult to injury to small communities
and is a snub to the Scottish Government’s intentions.”
The MP demands the Scottish Government “get a grip” of the transport anomaly in the
islands and take full control of island flights, as they do ferries.
He wants the government to “cut out the council middle men” and fund the services
Mr MacNeil added: “It is ironic what is called local government is not at all local.
“Decisions are being made by those who never use those services or visit the islands
concerned, in a manner that undermines islands and population viability.
“All for short term expediency, without even a fig leaf of consideration referencing
the effects of decisions.”
Anger after comhairle “vandalises” transport links