Page last updated at 10:30 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 11:30 UK

Islands flights set for take off

Highland Airways aircraft
The service will be the first between the islands and Oban

Two remote Scottish islands will be linked to the mainland by scheduled flights from next week.

It follows a decision by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to officially grant licences to airports at Oban and on the islands of Coll and Colonsay.

From Monday, Highland Airways will operate the services between Oban and Coll, Colonsay and Tiree in the Inner Hebrides.

Scheduled flights already run between Tiree and Glasgow, but not Oban.

It is hoped the new routes will provide an important transport link for local people and boost the local economies.

Colin Munro, contracts manager for Highland Airways, said: "This is an exciting time for everyone involved.

"Not only will it add to our growing portfolio of community-based activities, but will make a huge difference to the communities we serve."

These services will give a new transport option to people living on three of our furthest away islands
Stewart Turner
Argyll and Bute Council
Oban airport and Coll and Colonsay aerodromes are owned and operated by Argyll and Bute Council.

The airports underwent major improvements to make them suitable for commercial flights, with new terminal buildings put up and runways improved.

The project cost about 9m, with funding from a variety of sources including Argyll and Bute Council and the Scottish Government.

Stewart Turner, head of roads and amenity services at Argyll and Bute Council, said: "This an extremely important element in improving access to the mainland for some of the most isolated communities in the country.

"It will also support economic development and encourage visitors to the area.

"These services will give a new transport option to people living on three of our furthest away islands and will also enable island children attending Oban High School to take advantage of our special scholar flights and fly home regularly."

Tiree Airport is operated by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.

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