Contract award for replacement PSO planes
The tender process has been won by Viking Air Limited, which will provide two Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft for use on the routes from Glasgow to Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra.
The new 19-seat twin engine planes are expected to be delivered by May 2015, and will enter service once the certification process is completed.
Mr Brown said:
“I’m delighted to announce this contract award today, which brings us another step closer to having new planes operating on our Public Service Obligation routes.
“The tender from Viking Air Limited offered the best value for taxpayers’ money, as well as meeting all the requirements in terms of quality and delivery time.
“We expect to take delivery of the new planes next May and for them to be up and running on the routes shortly afterwards.
“Some of our remotest communities rely on these services to keep them connected. The flights transport people, goods and services, playing a crucial role for service industries, fisheries and agriculture. Direct air links also enable visitors to reach the islands easily, boosting local tourism.
“By purchasing our own aircraft, we will also encourage more competition when the contract for operating the PSO routes comes up for renewal. We will be looking at ways to enhance these services and will engage with passengers, local businesses and other interested parties to look at potential improvements.
“These new planes mean our PSO routes to Campbeltown, Barra and Tiree will continue to be reliable and attractive to travellers. The communities served by these flights can now look forward to seeing new planes operating on the routes next summer.”
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, said:
“The launch of this tender is an important milestone in the process of delivering new aircraft for the communities of Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree, areas which depend hugely on air connectivity.
“These lifeline routes provide a vital social and economic lifeline and these new aircraft will ensure that businesses, local residents and visitors remain well connected. With new aircraft operating on these routes, passengers will also enjoy an enhanced customer experience. I am confident that this investment by the Scottish Government will pay dividends for local communities and ensure that these air services continue to thrive for many years to come.”
The tender process was conducted by a panel of officials from both Transport Scotland and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited.
Subsidy has been paid by the Scottish Government on the Glasgow-Tiree and Glasgow-Barra route since the mid-1970s.
Under European regulations, PSOs were imposed in the mid-1990s to enable subsidy to continue being paid on these routes and on the Glasgow-Campbeltown route.
A PSO is an obligation imposed on a carrier to provide a set level of service on a particular route in order to ensure that the service satisfies fixed standards of continuity, regularity, capacity and pricing.