Councillors urged to save Fair Isle air link

Councillors are being urged to save the air link between the Mainland and Fair Isle with an annual grant of £15,000 to the National Trust for Scotland.

The organisation, which owns the island, asked the SIC for financial support in September last year but members of the infrastructure committee deferred a decision in February for more information.

The trust, which has been badly hit by the economic downturn, has now said it will be left with an operational deficit of more than £16,000 in the current financial year and can no longer afford to run the Fair Isle airstrip.

Officials are recommending to councillors on the committee, who will meet on Tuesday, that they approve a £15,000 yearly cash injection on the grounds that it offers good value for money and is consistent with support given to  airstrips in other outlying islands.

As well as providing a vital link with the Mainland, the Fair Isle strip employs 10 people in Fair Isle as firemen, with three present at each landing.

There are around 250 landings every year, and revenue from these is expected to be £11,400 this year, while staff wages, essential maintenance, licencing fees and other costs will be more than £28,000.


Add Your Comment
  • Mila Murphy

    • June 15th, 2009 15:03

    I am writing to urge the Councillors to provide the requested funding to keep the Fair Isle airstrip open. This airstrip provides a vital link to the island. I understand there were over 350 landings last year and it is anticipated there will be more this year, even with the bird observatory closed to visitors. Next year the new bird observatory will open on Fair Isle. Many visitors to the observatory would use the airstrip. Tourism is vital to the economy of the island and many tourists use the air service. The airstrip also provides fast and convenient transport for the residents of the island (and could be life-saving in event of an emergency). Shetland as a whole also benefits from the airstrip as visitors to the island generally spend time and money on the Shetland mainland.

    Although I am a resident of California, I visited Fair Isle in 2007, using the airstrip. I hope to return one day, but would probably not do so without air service to the island.

    With kind regards,
    Mila Murphy
    Santa Clara, California


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