Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Highlands and Islands to be served by electric planes as Transport Secretary backs ‘third revolution’ in aviation

Michael Matheson
Michael Matheson

Electric planes could be flown on routes between the Highlands and Islands in what the Scottish Government has hailed as part of the “third revolution” in aviation.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson yesterday said ministers were “actively considering” the use of electric aircraft on short flights between the islands and mainland.

His support of the cutting edge technology came to light in a letter sent to MSPs on Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity committee.

Mr Matheson said aircraft powered by electricity were likely to be the “preferred solution” when it comes to establishing environmentally-friendly links between island communities.

Loganair has already spoken of its ambition to get electric-powered planes on its island-hopping passenger services in Orkney.

The regional airline has said it hopes to bring the aircraft into service on the routes, which include the world’s shortest commercial flight, by 2021.

Mr Matheson said: “We are entering the third revolution in aviation following the Wright Brothers and the Jet Age.

“Hybrid aircraft and fully electric aircraft are being developed now and we want Scotland to be part of the third revolution.

“Electric aircraft, particularly on short Highlands and Islands routes, are likely to be a preferred solution for the future to provide affordable, reliable and sustainable connectivity for our island communities and we are actively considering that now.”

But his letter prompted an angry response from the Green Party by also arguing for the growth of airports to boost the economy and improve connectivity.

Mr Matheson said the reintroduction of the Inverness to Heathrow service had  “opened up” the Highlands to the rest of the world.

“There is a balance between the economic value of aviation and the environmental impact it creates,” Mr Matheson wrote.

“Where airports are growing, as we see at Inverness and Edinburgh, the economic benefits are clear.”

But the Greens accused the Transport Secretary of trying to tackle the climate emergency with “only the use of new technology, including electric planes that aren’t even available yet”.

Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie said: “The Scottish Government appear to want to pursue continuous growth of aviation.

“Declaring a climate emergency is meaningless unless the Scottish Government also has the will to address the main contributors to it.”

A Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) spokesman said: “We are committed to reducing our environmental impact wherever possible and are supporting a project that aims to launch the world’s first electric air transport routes.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in