Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the Government to ensure that flight slots continue to be held at major airports for Scottish services in the wake of the collapse of Flybe. Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael highlighted the importance of maintaining competition in Scottish flights.
Mr Carmichael said:
“The regional point-to-point services will be the priority but will the Minister bear in mind that especially for services from Scotland, Flybe provided the limited competition that we have in relation to the hub airports in Heathrow and London City.
“These slots will be much more difficult to fill, so will she impress on the airport operators that these slots must be kept available for regional flights and they mustn’t just be snapped up by the big guys doing the long haul?”
Responding for the Government, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Kelly Tolhurst MP, said:
“I understand the gentleman’s concerns and as he will appreciate I have already had conversations this morning with the airlines and with my officials. We will continue to do that in order to maintain that regional connectivity and those routes. These conversations are ongoing and we will be working on through this in the next few days and into next week.”
Reacting afterwards, Mr Carmichael said:
“Maintaining local lifeline facilities and capacity is essential. The Government must recognise that the issues thrown up by the collapse of Flybe will reach far into the future, and cannot be simply “left to the market”, as some have suggested.