Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain and Cllr Struan Mackie are working together to find solutions to safeguard the future of Wick John O’Groats Airport.
The continued lack of scheduled flights to Wick dealt a huge blow to the local economy yesterday as Wick Harbour Authority announced that construction workers for the Moray East Windfarm will now be operating their crew transfers from Buckie instead of Wick.
The relocation to Buckie was chosen because of its proximity to Aberdeen Airport.
Edward Mountain MSP and Cllr Struan Mackie are jointly calling on the SNP Government to stop dragging its feet and ensure that Wick John O’Groats Airport is granted a Public Service Obligation status (PSO).
Edward Mountain MSP said:
“Caithness and Sutherland are both in a perfect position to benefit from the economic opportunities that offshore wind farms bring but risk losing out because the SNP Government have not yet afforded Wick John O’Groats Airport a PSO.
I support the case put forward by Caithness Chambers of Commerce for a PSO but I feel they have been let down by an SNP Government which is working at a snail’s pace on this issue.
The SNP Government could have moved quicker on granting a PSO and they certainly had the finances to do so thanks to the additional hundreds of millions they have received from the UK Government.
There should be no more delay in kickstarting the Far North’s economic recovery and a PSO for Wick John O’Groats Airport is a key part of that.”
Cllr Struan Mackie, Member for Thurso and Northwest Caithness, said:
“The prolonged loss of scheduled flights from Wick John O’Groats Airport is having a devastating impact on local firms and their ability to attract and retain business in Caithness and North Sutherland.
The failure of the Scottish Government to invest in the Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s ‘shovel ready’ PSO is jeopardising the region’s COVID-19 economic recovery. These proposals have been with Scottish Ministers for months, and the delay in taking action is putting the Far North at a direct disadvantage to other rural regions that have maintained their access to regular passenger flights.
Stakeholders and the business community believe that the business case for the PSO is clear and that is why we are calling for the Scottish Government to make an investment in the vitally important asset for the Far North of Scotland before it is too late.”