Fresh Plea for Wick Airport
A fresh plea has been made to safeguard the future of Wick John O’Groats Airport after it emerged that the local economy has lost out on renewable energy activity because of the lack of scheduled flights.
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain and Highland councillor Struan Mackie have urged the Scottish Government to "stop dragging its feet" on a public service obligation (PSO) to protect Caithness air links following the news that Moray East wind farm construction workers will be operating crew transfers from Buckie instead of Wick.
Councillor Mackie, who represents Thurso and Northwest Caithness on Highland Council, said: "The prolonged loss of scheduled flights from Wick John O’Groats Airport is having a devastating impact on local firms and their ability to attract and retain business in Caithness and north Sutherland.
"The failure of the Scottish Government to invest in Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s ‘shovel-ready’ PSO is jeopardising the region’s Covid-19 economic recovery. These proposals have been with Scottish ministers for months, and the delay in taking action is putting the far north at a direct disadvantage to other rural regions that have maintained their access to regular passenger flights.
"Stakeholders and the business community believe that the business case for the PSO is clear and that is why we are calling for the Scottish Government to make an investment in the vitally important asset for the far north of Scotland before it is too late.”
Wick is the operations and maintenance base for the £2.5 billion Beatrice offshore farm. The 950MW Moray East development, about 14 miles off the east coast of Caithness, will have 100 turbines and is expected to be fully operational by 2022. Wick is the operations and maintenance base for the 84-turbine Beatrice offshore farm which was officially opened in 2019.