Shock as Atlantic pulls plug on isles

HIGH prices and the global economic downturn were mainly why Faroese airline Atlantic Airways decided to pull the plug on its service to Shetland.

The company had provided a link between Sumburgh Airport and London Stansted, but was forced to change its plans last week.

Members of the transport partnership ZetTrans expressed their disappointment at the decision when they met at the Town Hall on Monday.

North Isles councillor Josie Simpson said the news was “very disappointing” as the service had offered a good link to the south of England.

VisitShetland boss Andy Steven said the move was anticipated because of fuel costs.

He said the fact the service was not eligible for the popular air discount scheme had also counted against it.

“There’s nothing we can do. The service didn’t have business traffic, it was purely leisure and less people were travelling.”

ZetTrans chairman Allan Wishart said the whole aviation industry was in turmoil.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott also responded to the decision by Atlantic Airways to pull out of Shetland.

“The loss of the Atlantic Airways flights to London is a severe blow.

“It was not just a useful link for Shetland residents and business people – it was a vital link for our tourist industry, making the option of short breaks in Shetland much more attractive to the huge numbers of potential customers living in the south east of the UK.

“Zoom and XL are airlines which have gone bust recently. So the UK Government cannot ignore the huge profits of oil companies while our vital transport networks fall apart.

“This is an oil credibility gap. The oil companies were quick enough to raise their prices when crude oil prices rose.”


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