Skye councillors yesterday welcomed news that a trial of air services between Skye and Glasgow could be imminent.
Hitrans (Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership) is to work with Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise in a short term steering group to look at the commercial and technical feasibility of re-opening Ashaig airport, Broadford, for a twice daily service to link the island with the Central Belt.
The business case for the service is currently based on a £120 return flight to Glasgow with a19-seater Cessna aircraft.
The economic value to the area is estimated at £1.8 to £2.5 million.
There are significant challenges ahead for such a service, including airport infrastructure and the need to have a fire and rescue service in place, a big cost, councillors heard at their area committee meeting in Portree.
The councillors were also told that Loganair had made no commitment to entering the trial, but would be invited to sit on the steering group.
New satellite signalling technology would now address previous issues of pilot imformation for landing poor visibility, the councillors heard.
Councillor John Gordon said: “Things are progressing slowly, there is disappointment that it’s not happening quicker, but I think it’s encouraging that there’s a commitment from the council and other stakeholders to strengthen the business case for investment.”
Councillor John Finlayson said: “The whole trial suggestion is a great idea, then we will have an idea of the real costs and viability of the service we can evaluate properly.”