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.

Inverness Airport boss asks MPs to help secure future of Heathrow route

A Loganair flight lands at Inverness Airport. Picture by Sandy McCook
A Loganair flight lands at Inverness Airport. Picture by Sandy McCook

The boss of Highlands and Islands Airports has written to MPs, urging them to ensure the “essential” route between Inverness and London Heathrow is maintained.

Direct flights between the two airports were temporarily suspended by British Airways last month, as the coronavirus pandemic caused a significant drop in demand.

In correspondence with the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster, HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon raised the importance of the route to the economy of the north of Scotland.

Writing to committee chairman Pete Wishart MP, Mr Lyon said: “It is imperative that Inverness Airport has access to London Heathrow with a minimum frequency of two services per day that enables passengers to undertake a viable day return in each direction.

“The London Heathrow route is essential for the economy of the Highlands and Islands as it provides a direct link to one of the world’s leading aviation hubs.

“Moreover, it has a high degree of connecting traffic, with just under half who use the service travelling onwards to the rest of the world, and similar numbers in reverse.”

HIAL Managing Director Inglis Lyon. Picture by Sandy McCook

Mr Lyon pointed to a 2018 impact assessment, which found the route brought in a total spend of £89 million in the Inverness area by inbound visitors.

‘Ensure communities remain connected’

Regular services are still running from the Highland city to London Luton and London Gatwick, operated by EasyJet, while KLM runs flights to and from Amsterdam Schiphol twice a week.

On its website, British Airways is selling tickets between Inverness Airport, one of several Scottish airports operated by HIAL, and Heathrow from the end of February, though that date may change dependent on trading.

Mr Lyon added: “Both Mr Wishart, and fellow MP and committee member Douglas Ross, use Inverness airport for travel and when next passing through we would be very happy to provide them with an update on the different initiatives currently underway and our strategy to address the challenges HIAL currently face, as well as discuss opportunities to ensure our remote communities remain connected.”

Scottish Affairs Committee chairman Pete Wishart MP. Picture by Steve MacDougall/DCT Media

The Scottish Affairs Committee has been holding an inquiry into airports across the country, analysing their environmental impact and performance for local communities as well as how they have been affected by the pandemic.

Mr Wishart said: “Our committee’s inquiry on Airports in Scotland has now finished its evidence gathering phase, and we are now in the process of pulling together our findings and recommendations into a report to the UK Government.

“We heard compelling evidence on the importance of airline routes that many communities rely on, including the route between Inverness and Heathrow.

“Airline routes themselves are a commercial matter for the companies involved, but as a committee we may encourage UK Government to support such routes.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in