Western Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil, is asking the Scottish Government to instigate a study on the introduction of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) on the Benbecula to Glasgow air service.
Transport & Islands Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP has recently stated that there are no plans to introduce a Public Service Obligation on the Benbecula to Glasgow air service.
However, Mr MacNeil is calling on the Transport & Islands Minister to reconsider due to the service not being comprehensive each week of the year.
He said: “There is a PSO on the Barra air service and there is competition on the Stornoway air service and this is good news.
“However, Benbecula has neither and I believe that there is a case for a PSO on the Benbecula to Glasgow air service which would ensure that airfares and service levels as well as perhaps scheduling are reasonable for the Uist community.”
Mr MacNeil continued: “The Minister has recently stated that there are no plans to put in place a PSO on the Benbecula to Glasgow service and that a PSO would only be considered if the existing commercial air service ceased to operate and an alternative operator could not be found to serve the route on a commercial basis.
“I am asking the Minister to revisit this issue and that he starts a study on a PSO for this route, on the basis that the commercial operator cannot and does not run a full weekly service year round with some afternoons in winter not having a service, and the amount of public money already used on the route in the Air Discount Scheme.”
Cllr Calum MacMillan, Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eiriosgaigh agus Uibhist a Deas, commented: "The fare paying passengers travelling to and from Uist are being disadvantaged by the current system.
“The occupancy rate is currently less than 30% which means that 70% of the total available seats on this service could be used for free. The fares of the 30% are generally paid for by government or by government agencies which means that the fares are set on a non-competitive basis which inflates the fares charged to non-government paid fares."
And Cllr Iain MacNeil, Barraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eiriosgaigh agus Uibhist a Deas added: “I welcome the support of our MP in one of a number of priorities identified by Uist and Barra Councillors.
"I was disappointed when the initial approach to the Minister was turned down but had agreed to continue making a case for a PSO, so this intervention by Angus Brendan is timely and welcome."