The Aviation White Paper and the Highlands & Islands Tom Matthew

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The Aviation White Paper and the Highlands & Islands

  • Tom Matthew

  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise

“The Highlands”

Ensuring Access To Hub Airports

Inverness Services:Present Provision

Research Into The Impacts Of Loss of Inverness-Gatwick Service (1)

  • Independent study, undertaken in December 2001

  • This was before: * easyJet Gatwick service * bmi Heathrow service

  • Based on loss of full service operator with additional services to Luton or Stansted

Research Into The Impacts Of Loss of Inverness-Gatwick Service (2)

  • Short-run employment loss of 1,400 Full-Time Equivalent jobs

  • Long term impact could be greater - not least through perceptions of the region being: “peripheral, with minimal interlining and premier routes from the South East”

  • Impacts generally felt in “premier” businesses

  • “Traditional” cost-benefit analysis cannot quantify the negative impacts in terms of trips no longer made…

  • Yet when Inverness-Heathrow ceased in 1997, traffic between London and Inverness fell by 20%

The Findings In Context

  • Impact equals one in every hundred jobs in the region

  • Loss of “premier” businesses: * regional GDP per capita is only 75% of the UK level * under 3% of the region’s businesses employ more than 50 people

Significance of Interlining

  • In the case of Inverness: some firms were there on the assumption that they could easily get to London and the US” (Alastair Darling) but…..

  • The White Paper defines “London” as: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City

“London” Airports:Service Profiles

Interlining: Gatwick and Luton Compared

Possible Alternatives?

  • Markets too thin to support extensive direct services to non-UK hubs

  • Interlining opportunities at regional airports are much less than at south east hubs

  • Surface access: only one direct daytime train between Inverness and London which takes 8 hours


  • Air services to London generate very significant economic benefits

  • Need a mix of services to London airports-no frills and full service

  • This must include connections to hub airports, with adequate frequencies and timings

  • Interlining opportunities are essential, especially where the remote airport has limited connectivity

  • “Defined circumstances” for a PSO should reflect surface travel alternatives

  • Good air services are essential to growing regional prosperity

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