PSO planes ready for take off

The two new planes that will operate on the Scottish Government’s Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes have been officially unveiled by Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay.

The Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft will be used on the routes from Glasgow to Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra.

The 19-seat twin engine planes were manufactured by Viking Air Limited at the company’s base in Vancouver, Canada. They will now begin the certification process, before entering service later this summer.

Speaking at Glasgow Airport this morning, Mr Mackay said:

“I’m delighted to officially unveil these new planes, which are moving ever closer to entering service on our PSO routes to Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra.

“The aircraft will come as a welcome sight to the remote communities that rely on these services to keep them connected.

“The flights transport people and goods, playing a crucial role for service industries, fisheries and agriculture. Direct air links also enable visitors to reach the islands easily, boosting local tourism. The new planes mean our PSO routes will continue to be reliable and attractive to travellers.

“The purchase of our own aircraft will encourage more competition for the next contract to operate the PSO routes. That contract has been enhanced, with more flights and better timings to offer local residents and businesses, as well as tourists, an improved service.

“The next stage in the process is for the planes to go through the certification process so the crews can familiarise themselves with them.

“I look forward to seeing the planes take off in full service later this summer.”

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL), said:

"We are delighted that these new purpose built aircraft are now ready to serve the communities of Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree. These new aircraft represent a significant public investment in these lifeline routes and in the communities they serve.

“With their vibrant livery, these aircraft serve as a reminder of the important role that aviation plays in supporting social and economic development across regional Scotland and we look forward to working with the new operator to ensure these routes continue to go from strength to strength.”

Notes to editors

Photos of the event are available from Iain Rutherford Photography (07710 337 520).

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.

Published 18 May 2015