Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Thursday, 9 October 2008 17:46 UK

New runway could restore air link

Heathrow
A decision on the third runway at Heathrow is due this year

Flights between Inverness and Heathrow would be restored if the London airport gets a third runway, an MSP has been told.

Scottish Labour's David Stewart said he was given the assurance by British Airways chief Willie Walsh.

BA flights between the two airports stopped in 1997.

Mr Stewart said: "Willie Walsh has given a very clear commitment to re-instating a service between Heathrow and Inverness."

A decision on the controversial third runway is due by the end of this year, although it may slip after Ruth Kelly's decision to stand down as transport secretary.

The signals from Downing Street suggest Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants the expansion to go ahead.

Mr Stewart said: "If this route was re-opened it would be a huge boost for commuters, employers and tourism.

He added: "When I asked Mr Walsh at a BA event this week if regional flights would be squeezed out by international services if Heathrow gets its third runway, the British Airways CEO said this would not be the case.

"In fact his view is that the third runway would provide extra capacity for regional services."

The airline bmi said flights on the Inverness-Heathrow route, which was launched in March 2004, would end on 29 March.


SEE ALSO
Call to protect north air links
19 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands
Airline to terminate London link
03 Jan 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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