A group of community councillors, tourism representatives, business owners and flying enthusiasts with a stake in the success of Oban and The Isles Airports have all met with Argyll and Bute Council to discuss the way forward for the facilities. It comes as a marketing and PR strategy is rolled out for the airports to further attract more people to use the services available and as a public consultation is being carried out by HITRANS on potential new services from Oban to Glasgow, Oban to Barra and Campbeltown to Oban.
Lead Councillor for Environment, Development and Infrastructure, John Semple said “We are keen to build on the growth of local air services and a marketing and PR strategy is in place which is aimed at consolidating and expanding operations at Oban Airport. It is important we involve as many local stakeholders as we can in moving things forward and I understand the first meeting held was a very positive one. I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts so we can make the most of this important asset.”
The number of people using current operator Hebridean Air services has grown during 2012 with more than 3000 passengers now flying out of Oban Airport to the islands. This is an annual increase of 28% compared with the previous year. Hebridean Air continues to grow and for the first quarter of 2013 passengers using the air services operating out of Oban to the islands has risen by 12% compared to the same quarter last year. Flight training and scenic tours across Oban and the Islands are also now available through Fly Scenic Scotland.
Local air services are supporting the local economy as they are being regularly used by local businesses and have proved essential for service provision to the islands with the NHS and Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) being key users. The services operating under Oban and The Isles Airports provide island residents and scholars with access to essential services which cannot be provided locally and also help to support the development of tourism in Argyll and Bute.
The Consultative Committee will work together and meet regularly so all ideas, suggestions and potential improvements can be taken on board and if agreed put into practice.