13th April 2022
Following a long campaign for the return of lifeline air services to Wick John O’Groats Airport, Caithness Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the successful first flight of the Wick-Aberdeen Public Service Obligation (PSO).
The service, which started on Monday 11 April, will offer a new deal for air passengers in the North Highlands, with a guaranteed pricing structure and strong onward connectivity to both domestic and international destinations.
The Chamber was the initial driving force behind the business case for a PSO from Wick, and worked alongside other partners in the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership to help secure funding for the service of just over £1m per year for three years from Scottish Government and the Highland Council.
Members of the Chamber team including Trudy Morris, Chief Executive, were on the inaugural flight from Wick to Aberdeen and used the opportunity to begin forging links with key organisations in Aberdeen to help drive traffic both to and from the North Highlands. Productive discussions were held with Visit Aberdeenshire, P&J Live, and the Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association.
Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The return of lifeline air services to Wick John O’Groats Airport has been one the highest priorities of the Chamber for a number of years, and I am delighted to see our efforts, and those of our partners, bear fruit. It has been a long, hard road to get here and it would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of partners across the region. These flights are a real testament to what can be achieved through partnership working between the private and public sectors.
“Our thanks go to the Scottish Government for committing the funding that made this possible, and to the Highland Council both for their direct financial contribution and for all of their hard work in designing and procuring the service.
“The return of flights marks a starting point, not an ending. Air connectivity remains vital to businesses and communities across the North Highlands and the Chamber, along with partners, will continue to work for the further development of of lifeline connectivity to and from the region.
“We would now encourage everyone to make use of these flights – this is a service designed for everyone and offers great options for both business and leisure travel. The timetable already offers a good range of connectivity to domestic and international destinations and, as the aviation industry recovers post-COVID, this will only improve further.”