Flight Christmas:Tesco hires plane to bring in festive supplies

A Hercules freight plane has been hired by Tesco as the Lerwick store makes plans for bringing fresh supplies in.

It ran out of fresh produce early today and manager Paul Clelland started trying to other alternative arrangements when it became clear there would be no ferries sailing today.

He told The Shetland Times  11 wagons had been stranded at Aberdeen waiting for freight sailings. They are now heading to Livingstone where it is hoped the stock can be transferred to the Hercules and flown to Sumburgh tomorrow, for what is busiest weekend in the supermarket year.

He said: ” We had been planning on the assumption the boat was going to run tonight. We had even given a cautiously optimistic outlook.” When it became clear that was not happening he said the work began to find an alternative.

“It has been non stop. We had to start thinking about other options and possibilities because the forecast is not great.”

He admitted it was an expensive option but added: “It’s the right thing to do.”

If the plan comes off the plane is due to land at Sumburgh at 11am tomorrow before flying back south and stocking up again. It will then return to Sumburgh at 3.30pm.

Paul said a fleet of lorries would be waiting to transport the goods to Lerwick.

He said the fresh food aisles, including vegetables, meat and poultry and bread, were closed until more stock arrived, although the rest of the store is open as usual.

The rush had been one of the worst he had experienced. “When there is ferry disruption there is a bit of an uptake in food buying. Obviously because it is Christmas people are a bit more anxious.”


Add Your Comment
  • Ian Mundie

    • December 21st, 2012 20:30

    As corporal Jones aka Clive Dunn used to say…don’t panic, don’t panic!

  • Paula Goddard

    • December 21st, 2012 22:04

    But your local shops are full !! Buy local and support your community !

  • peter smith

    • December 21st, 2012 22:05


    Too late, they already have!
    What would the poor souls have done in the old days with only three boats a week?

  • Colin Hunter

    • December 22nd, 2012 1:36

    Bet you anything you like, that most of what has been “panic bought” will lie on a shelf and get binned because it went off before it could be used! It would be comical if it probably wasn’t true. People need to stand backand take a long and hard look at themselves. Does nobody plan ahead any more? Does nobody take bad weather into consideration? Don’t you have a few packs of frozen veg an long life milk in stock for such events? A freezer with a week or two’s worth of meals in it. What the hell has happened to this place? It’s a bloody disgrace! That’s what it is, and anyone who can’t cope with life in Shetland should seriously consider shipping out!

  • Sandy McMillan

    • December 22nd, 2012 13:21

    Well done Tescos, A huge Company who can afford to do this sort of of thing, even so we all have to thank Tescos for there effort to make the Festive period a Happy one, a few years ago Don Leslie did similiar to bring in goods to his shop,

  • Andy Cook

    • December 22nd, 2012 16:51

    Last time I shopped at Tesco in Lerwick, for my loyalty I was issued with a 5p off per litre of fuel at any Tesco filling station. Naturally being 250 miles away from the nearest station, its of little use to me, however I’m quite happy to pass it on to the Hercules pilot to go towards this expensive publicity stunt.
    Every little ‘elps.

  • Barney Leith

    • December 22nd, 2012 18:07

    When I moved to Shetland at the end of 1974, we had only two boats a week. Fruit & veg were delivered about once every six weeks. No Tesco’s then!

  • ian tinkler

    • December 22nd, 2012 22:42

    Great advert Tesco’s; you made the “National News” for the cost of four air charters. My local shops, Bixter, Wiesldale and Whiteness never ran out of anything. Let’s go fight over a sprout, but perhaps shop locally, using rurally shops would be a better option… Serco get your freight from anywhere but Aberdeen and use real sea going ships and seamen may be a good idea. For goodness sake the wind has not been that bad for cargo. This service is a bad joke.

  • Robert Lowes

    • December 23rd, 2012 18:51

    The Bixter, Whiteness and Weisdale shops get a fraction of the customers that Tesco’s in Lerwick receives every single day. To try and compare the two on the basis of “because they didn’t run out of stock, Tesco’s shouldn’t have either” is not only completely erroneous, it’s fundamentally flawed. However, I didn’t realise Ian Tinkler now possesses a Master Mariner certificate along with his apparent expertise in every field of human endeavour known to man.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 23rd, 2012 21:31

    O Robert, I so thank you for your flattery. Have a great Christmas darling. Sorry to the Aith shop, I forgot to mention you. Great Christmas to all, forgive my sense of fun. I truly love most of you, a bit, even our very own SIC donkeys. And maybe Robert too!

  • ian tinkler

    • December 23rd, 2012 22:56

    Just for information, Robert, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander (D) RNR. 10 years sevice, Not a Master Mariner, Robert, but not quite as ignorant about our seas as some. Berlin airlift, Tesco crap flight! Get a perspective.

  • Gordon Harmer

    • December 24th, 2012 8:24

    I would like tom say a big thank you to the Post Office for laying on extra mail flights and bringing all my mail order presents to me in time for Xmas. As well as delivering all the cards and presents from relatives on the mainland and for just getting on with it without the blaze of publicity in all the media. Merry Christmas and thank you all.

  • Keith Hawkins

    • December 24th, 2012 13:12

    Please be aware, it wasn’t fresh fruit and veg in tesco (note the small t). It had traveled all the way from the distribution centre, probably Glasgow at the nearest, to Aberdeen, stood there for 2 days then been shipped back to Edinburgh and flown up here, where the hungry souls pounced. Not like the old days eh.


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