Contract awarded for flights from Oban to Coll, Colonsay and Tiree

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Subsidised air services from Oban to Coll, Colonsay and Tiree have been secured for the next four years.

Following Hebridean Air Services Limited running the routes on a temporary basis, Argyll and Bute Council has now awarded the company the four-year contract.

The service offers an amended number of flights, although flights for school pupils travelling to Oban have been secured as a priority.

There had been concerns that services would be interrupted by strict funding legislation after an initial procurement process for the four-year contract failed to attract an acceptable bid.

However, council officers and staff at Hebridean Air worked hard behind the scenes to prevent that scenario and put a temporary contract in place in May.

The new, four-year contract will continue on the same timetable as the interim contract.

Argyll and Bute council leader Aileen Morton, who is also policy lead for economic development, said: ‘It’s good that these services have now been secured on a new contract with the existing operator, which means there will be no gap in service.

‘There has been some uncertainty over the future of the services and I’m pleased that we can put any fears to rest with this announcement.’

Following the news, Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said: ‘I am delighted this important service has been secured for a further four years. This will be a big boost to the island communities that currently benefit from it.

‘The commitment from Argyll and Bute Council should also be welcomed. Despite swingeing cuts to its budget, they are still ensuring vital lifeline services such as this are protected.’