The online campaign aimed at challenging excessive prices on flights to and from Scottish Islands is hoping to meet the Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay to discuss the issue.
The group founded last Sunday has already been granted a meeting with Loganair’s senior management on 25th June prompting organiser Scott Preston to say he was “delighted” Loganair had agreed to the meeting.
It has now written to the islands minister to set up a meeting to discuss high flight prices and the wider issues surrounding lifeline air links to and from the isles. The campaign delegation would consist of Mr Preston and PR man James Stewart.
Shetland resident Mr Preston set up a Facebook page that garnered 14,000 supporters in a week. He said: “We are keen to sit down with Mr Mackay to discuss our campaign and other issues that those flying to and from the Isles experience.
“Our campaign has grown at a phenomenal rate, with almost at 14,000 supporters backing us in just five days. Loganair, to their credit, have now acknowledged the group and agreed to meet with us and we are looking to coordinate everyone’s diary.
“We are hopeful that the minister will take notice of the campaign and find time to sit down with us.
Mr Stewart wrote to the minister: “We have been inundated with stories from those traveling to and from Scotland’s island communities. Price remains the single biggest issue for our members, but a number of other issues including reliability, the Air Discount Scheme and the lack of clarity on Loganair’s finances.
“The campaign has received cross-party backing from MPs, MSPs, councillors and the Our Islands Our Future Campaign.”
The campaign was founded with four aims:
1) Loganair acknowledges the campaign and the strength of feeling about this issue in the Highlands and Islands
2) Loganair agrees to send a delegation of senior management to meet with the campaign
3) Loganair provides clarity on finances, providing customers with easy access to information about health and student concessionary rates.
4) Loganair institutes a policy to give discounted travel to those flying to and from Scottish Islands to attend the funeral of an immediate family member.
Mr Stewart met Orkney and Shetland MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott on Thursday and they will be discussing Loganair’s “reliability problems” with the Islands minister.
Mr Preston said today: “We are delighted that Loganair are willing to sit down and hear what we have to say. The support that we have received from people across the globe has been phenomenal. We’re very grateful to everyone who has contacted and supported the campaign.
“Despite Loganair having originally dismissed the campaign as ‘not more than a handful of islanders’, I believe we have shown clearly that there is a strong and still growing support for what we are hoping to achieve.
“Loganair will be given every chance to put forward their side of this issue, but they must come into next week’s meeting knowing that talking to us is just the start. We will continue to press for the changes that the Isles desperately need for our lifeline air services.
“We will go into the meeting making the case for changes on the strongest possible terms.”