Inter island flights take off

Use of inter island flights to some of Shetland’s smaller islands is on the rise.

The number of journeys grew by nearly eight per cent between 2009 and 2011, figures published by transport partnership ZetTrans show.
The number of passengers using the four routes from the Tingwall airstrip to Foula, Skerries, Papa Stour and Fair Isle has risen from 4,480 to 4,824.

Fair Isle – a popular destination for bird lovers – has seen by far the biggest rise in air traffic, the number of passengers rising from 2,573 in 2009 to 2,985 last year.

There has also been a modest increase in the number of people flying in and out of Foula, from 1,200 to 1,243.
But there has been a decline in the volume of air passengers going to Skerries (down from 551 to 474) and Papa Stour (slipping from 156 to 122).

In its annual report, ZetTrans said the current arrangements resulted in a good level of service. But with pressure on budgets “there is a need to explore alternative models of delivery”. As part of a review, alternatives will be examined and discussions will be held with the affected communities.

During campaigning for this May’s council elections, South Mainland councillor Allison Duncan called for Tingwall Airport to be shut to save cash.


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