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FlyHighland, a would-be not-for-profit airline with an eye on Stornoway and other island air routes, has announced it is seeking investor funding to get the venture off the ground.

The Highlands-based start-up, whose mission statement is affordable airfares connecting the Highlands and Islands, has spent the past year researching the potential market.

On the strength of the survey results, it is clear local industry is in desperate need of a cheaper air service serving the Highlands and islands, says founder Thomas Eccles.

The next step is securing funding via investors and future ticket sales once a launch date has been finalised.

Explain Eccles: “We are going to require enough money in the bank to pay for the following: Air Operators Certificate (£95k) and hiring of required staff with relevant airline management experience/certificates, so we could be looking at roughly 4/5 members of full-time staff. And we should have the money in the bank to sustain these salaries for at least 15 months before operations can commence.”

In the meantime, FlyHighland will be attending events around the UK in an attempt to network and potentially form partnerships and fundraising.

Regarding flight operations, Eccles said that initially, the airline would operate two or three flights per day to most destinations. As well as cheaper lifeline services, FlyHigland is also looking into the potential for charter flights and air cargo.

He added that FlyHighland would not be in the business of bringing tourists to the islands for “whistle-stop tick box trips.” Instead, they would be looking at ways to lengthen tourist stays.

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