27 September 2010

Allan welcomes progress on new Barra planes

Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, welcomed news that the Scottish Government is in talks with a Canadian manufacturer about potential replacement planes for the Isle of Barra.

Transport Minister, Stewart Stevenson, flew in to update community representatives with progress on the issue at a meeting in Northbay hall yesterday.

Speaking from Barra after the meeting, Alasdair Allan commented:

"The Transport Minister was able to confirm that the Scottish Government are now in talks with the Canadian aircraft manufacturer Viking about potential replacements for the two ageing twin otter aircraft which provide the link from Barra to both Glasgow and Benbecula airports.

"The number of commercial aircraft which can land on a beach is, of course, extremely limited, and it is welcome news that talks are underway about replacement.

"While no contracts have yet been signed, it is very promising to hear the Transport Minister give the Scottish Government's clearest ever commitment to ensuring that Barra airport will continue to function into the future.

"This now also effectively makes the Government's view plain that replacing the existing aircraft is a far more realistic option than trying to build a fixed runway.

"I look forward to working with the Scottish Government on this issue and will keep up the pressure for further progress.

"Obviously much depends on decisions to be taken in the next few months about what Scotland has to spend in these times of financial constraint. However, now that it is clear the Government are in detailed conversations with a manufacturer, this project looks very much more hopeful."

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