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Council fails to secure Scottish Isles air contract

Hebridean Air Services Islander (Image: Mark Harkin CC BY-SA2.0)

Hebridean Air Services Islander (Image: Mark Harkin CC BY-SA2.0)

Argyle and Bute Council has announced that it has failed to secure a new operator for an island hopping air service which ends on the 15th May.

Hebridean Air Services currently operate the routes linking Oban to Coll, Colonsay and Tiree under a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract with the Council which means public funding is used to ensure the route operates as it is vital to the economy of the islands.

The council has said that it has been forced to abandon the current renewal as the “procurement process for a new three-year contract failed to attract an acceptable bid”

As a result, even if a new operator is found, under the funding regulations for PSO routes, it would be the 28th June before a new contract would begin leaving the without an air service for at least six weeks.

Hebridean Air Services have hit back at the statement saying that “For the avoidance of any Hebridean Air Services tendered for the renewal of this service from 16 May 19 onwards.

“We are continuing to have a dialogue with Argyll and Bute Council and sincerely hope that an agreement can be reached which means services are not disrupted.”

“We were advised that the procurement process was abandoned on the grounds that the bids received exceeded the funds that Argyll and Bute Council has assigned to operate the service.”

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