Page last updated at 23:08 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Firm taking over Highland Airways isles route

Jetstream 31. Pic: Highland Airways
Highland Airways also flew other routes in the Hebrides

Scottish regional airline Loganair has taken over a route previously flown by financially troubled Highland Airways.

Highland Airways' board voluntarily placed the company in administration on Wednesday night.

Glasgow-based Loganair said from Monday it will offer two return flights each weekday between Stornoway and Benbecula in the Western Isles.

The route is subsidised by Western Isles' local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CNES).

Inverness-based Highland Airways called in PricewaterhouseCoopers to take over the running of the business, which also operates in Wales.

It ran services in the Outer and Inner Hebrides and to the Scottish mainland as well as between Cardiff and Anglesey in Wales.

Debts owed

Most of the company's workforce of about 100 staff will lose their jobs.

All of the airline's Thursday flights have been cancelled.

MPs Danny Alexander and Angus MacNeil have asked what part the debts owed to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) played in the decision to call in administrators.

Mr MacNeil said: "They have to come clean about what exactly their role was in this company having to be put into administration."

HMRC said it could not comment on individual cases because for reasons of confidentiality.

Loganair's commercial director Jonathan Hinkles said his company had moved as quickly as possible to maintain an "essential air service".

He added: "Loganair is pleased to be able to assist travellers and the CNES by stepping in at a moment's notice to keep the route open."

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