United front over securing future of Gatwick-Inverness flights

The Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry, has written to the Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet on behalf of a range of Highland public agencies and business groups to highlight the crucial importance of regular daily flights between Inverness and Gatwick.

easyJet recently purchased Flybe’s slots at Gatwick, which are used to provide three daily return services to Inverness.

Following a meeting on Friday 24 May called by the SCDI, it was agreed that the Council Leader should write to easyJet to set out the unanimous position of all the partners.

Councillor Hendry said: “The Highland Council has, as its top priority, the continued growth of Highland businesses and the wider Highland economy.  I am sure you will appreciate that links to London, continental Europe and worldwide via Gatwick are a vital part of ensuring both.

“The Council is now working with its partners Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, HiTrans and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry to secure sustained services between Inverness and Gatwick.   While I welcome the announcement from Flybe that services will continue until the end of March 2014, I am keen to ensure that they become permanent services and that longer term there is potential for their enhancement.  We are confident that easyJet can have a strong future on this route and want to help you develop your business.

“Of course our immediate priority is to retain the current morning and evening rotations and to this end I would welcome an announcement from easyJet confirming that their intention is to maintain current services between Inverness and Gatwick.

“Given the crucial importance of links to Gatwick for business connections, tourism and inward investment, I would welcome an early meeting with you to discuss the implications of your purchase from Flybe and your plans for the future of the Inverness / Gatwick link.”

27 May 2013