A delayed Loganair flight put paid to efforts from isles farmers to take part in a rally in protest over the CAP payment debacle.
The early morning service from Sumburgh to Edinburgh was held up by five hours, bringing an end to hopes of a Shetland representation at the 11am Holyrood demo.
Loganair say the delay was due to the late arrival of Wednesday night’s last flight into Sumburgh, which impacted on crew working hours.
However, it comes as the latest in a long line of hold-ups experienced by customers.
One of the farmers caught up in the delay was Cecil Eunson, who farms at Griesta in Tingwall. He was waiting at Sumburgh along with two other producers, Robert Nicolson and Martin Burgess, and was hoping for a stroke of luck in boarding a plane when The Shetland Times caught up with him. He described the experience as “totally frustrating”.
“We were on the first flight. It was meant to be 7.45 or whatever.
“We were told five hours, but we were hoping it might have been sooner than that, but it’s looking like it’s a no-go.
“We were going down to take part [in the rally], to make the point farmers and crofters in Shetland were very much in support of it.
“It’s very disappointing. It just seems to be Loganair.”
The rally came as farmers and crofters are becoming increasingly frustrated by delays in basic payment subsidies, which should have been through by the end of December.
Mr Eunson said the “farming debacle” had been going on for too long, with never a proper solution in sight.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced measures aimed at sorting out the problems this week. But Mr Eunson was left unimpressed.
“The farming debacle has been going on for long and we never ever seem to get a fix to it.
“It’s a temporary fix from government and it seems to be a temporary fix from Loganair.” CECIL EUNSON
“It’s a temporary fix from government and it seems to be a temporary fix from Loganair.
Isles MSP Tavish Scott also gave voice to his growing frustration.
“It is very disappointing that the Shetland delegation could not get to Parliament for today’s large rally. Sadly Loganair could not deliver a reliable service but we have all being putting up with that for too long.
“Farmers and crofters want to know when they will see CAP money delivered. Their confidence in government is at an all-time low and the only thing that will repair that is for the government to deliver. That has not happened so far and I hope this will change without any further delays.”
An unattributed statement from Loganair said: “Flight BE6992 was scheduled to depart for Edinburgh at 7.45am but is delayed until 12.45pm.
“This is due to the late arrival of the last flight back in to Sumburgh last night which impacted crew working hours. The airline was able to book passengers with onward connections onto alternative services from Sumburgh to the mainland. Loganair would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”