Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Donald Cameron, has denounced SNP ministers for failing to get on top of an ongoing air dispute that is causing harm to the Western Isles economy.

Mr Cameron said: “The first duty of the Scottish Government should be ensuring that the essential transport services linking our island communities to the mainland are fit for purpose and running smoothly.

“Instead of this, the dispute affecting airports across the Highlands and Islands, remains unresolved, and our ferries are struggling to deal with passenger numbers.

“Meanwhile, instead of urging Nicola Sturgeon to use her powers to sort out  these problems, Western Isles MP Angus McNeil is telling her to put all her energies into organising another independence referendum.

“He needs to remember that the majority in the Western Isles - over 10,000 people - voted no to independence, and will be far more concerned about the threat to the islands’ future from continued uncertainty over lifeline services than rerunning a referendum.”

The air traffic control pay dispute is being stepped up with rolling strikes to hit different airports on different days.

David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer said last week: “While we will seek to avoid disrupting major events as much possible, any strike action is disruptive by its nature, particularly during the school holidays.

“We would like to reiterate that we have been seeking to resolve this dispute for more than a year and this action is only being taken as a last resort.”

Prospect announced the following 24-hour strike days.

  • Inverness - 21 July.
  • Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Wick 22 July
  • Dundee, Stornoway and Benbecula 23 July

The work-to-rule previously announced will continue.

The strike means flights from Stornoway will be disrupted or cancelled on both Sunday July 21st and Tuesday July 23rd.  This will affect the Hebridean Celtic Festival weekend.

In addition, problems with holiday cover and aircraft delays could mean flights being cancelled across the network at short notice on any day.

Barra, Campbeltown, Islay and Tiree airports are unaffected.