Minister hails 'first class' easyJet announcement for Inverness
Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown has hailed news that the future of vital connections linking Inverness and London are to be secured, with capacity increased, following an announcement by easyJet.
The Minister was speaking during a press conference at Inverness Airport where the low cost airline unveiled its plans to base an aircraft in the city seven days a week. It is a move that will see two return flights a day to Gatwick, with a 9am arrival in London and an evening return. Not only will this underpin opportunities to do business in London in a day, capacity will increase from around 212,000 to 230,000 seats.
Speaking at Inverness Airport, Mr Brown said:
“After the uncertainty over the future of connections between Inverness and Gatwick, easyJet’s announcement is fantastic news for the Highlands. This decision will not only secure crucial early and late connections from next March, but will also see capacity on this vital route increase substantially. This is a first class announcement by easyJet.
“The Scottish Government and other partners, including Highlands and Islands Airports, have worked hard to secure the future of these slots. Preserving capacity on the route has been a top priority. This announcement will be welcomed across the Highlands and Islands.
“As well as being great news for local residents this decision reflects the fact that Inverness is an important tourism and business gateway to the Highlands.
"While this is undoubtedly a good result, I am under no illusions that Scotland’s links to London will continue to face pressure as a consequence of the London airports’ charging regimes and the UK Government’s exorbitant application of APD.”
Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL, which operates Inverness Airport, said:
“I am delighted that we have reached agreement with easyJet on a deal which not only secures access between Inverness and London Gatwick, but also provides a platform for future growth at Inverness Airport.
“Our priority throughout our discussions with easyJet was to secure early morning and evening flights between Inverness and Gatwick and the agreement we have reached achieves those twin objectives. This announcement is a major vote of confidence in the Highland economy from one of Europe’s largest airlines and we look forward to working with easyJet, local businesses and the tourism sector to ensure the success of these new services.”
The Leader of Highland Council, Cllr Drew Hendry, said:
"News that this vital route has not only been safeguarded, but will also see capacity increased, is tremendous news for the Highlands. I am pleased that easyJet has responded so positively to the case made for Inverness by Highland Council, HAIL and the Scottish Government, and this decision is a great endorsement in the Highlands."