Helen Liddell in the Press

Air attacks are mair your line, George!

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Liddell targeted in Highlands air attack


A TWIN assault was launched yesterday in a bid to increase access to world markets for remote and fragile communities such as the Highlands and Islands, through Heathrow.

A delegation led by Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber MP David Stewart and Highland Council convener David Green met Transport Minister Helen Liddell in London, to urge support for the designation of a Public Service Obligation (PSO) at the airport.

The long-term aim would be to ring-fence six slots each day to permit three return flights to Inverness.

A campaign is still being waged for the reinstatement of the Inverness to Heathrow service, which gave direct access to a network of international connections. It was withdrawn by British Airways in November 1997, and replaced by one operated by British Regional Airlines to Gatwick, with a smaller, slower plane.

The delegation told Mrs Liddell that it had already been advised that proposals for a PSO would not be opposed by the European Commission as long as it could be demonstrated that using Heathrow was significantly more advantageous than Gatwick.

In a separate move, Highlands and Islands Ministers Calum MacDonald MP and Alasdair Morrison MSP, for the Western Isles, met BRA representatives in Glasgow, following criticism of the its services, particularly to the islands.

Later, Mr MacDonald said: "BRA assured us that its performance had improved since my last meeting with them in November. BRA said they had taken further steps to provide better and more reliable services." - June 15 1999