The vital public service obligation (PSO) island air services could continue beyond Friday 15th May as negotiations between Argyll and Bute Council and Hebridean Air Services Ltd. (HASL) continue after progress was made over the weekend.
The council has dedicated over £2million to secure a new three-year contract to protect these vital flights to the islands of Coll, Colonsay and Tiree.
Chair of the Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, Oban-based Councillor Roddy McCuish, welcomed this news, saying: ‘’This is all about finding a sustainable long-term future for these flights and we are absolutely delighted that negotiations will continue.
‘’We are fully committed to supporting our island communities which is why, despite the financial challenges facing us over the next few years, we’ve made over £2million available specifically to subsidise these flights, making them financially viable for a private operator.
‘’Following reassurances from Hebridean Air over the weekend we now have the comfort that its commitment to providing these services is equal to ours.
‘’A meeting is being arranged at the earliest possible opportunity, hopefully this week, to allow negotiations to continue.
‘’We are hopeful that a positive resolution can be reached and we can achieve the outcome that everyone wants – a continuation of the lifeline air services.
‘’We’re committed to our residents on the islands but we have to ensure any contract award is legal and provides best value for the public purse.’’
Details on the outcome of this meeting will follow.