The Highland Council has today (Wednesday 7 December 2022) announced a temporary festive schedule for the air services between Wick and Aberdeen.
Agreed in partnership with the operator, Eastern Airways, and local stakeholders, the schedule will operate from 24 December 2022 to 7 January 2023.
It is designed to maximise connectivity to UK domestic destinations in the run up to the festive period, and to maintain a vital lifeline service over Christmas and New Year.
The schedule will maintain a full double daily service between Wick and Aberdeen until 23 December, ensuring that vital connectivity is in place for workers and students returning home to Caithness for Christmas.
It also provides good onward connectivity to UK destinations including Belfast, Birmingham, London and Manchester, allowing those with connections to the North Highlands living and working further afield to return to the region over the festive period.
Leader of The Highland Council, and Chair of the Wick John O’Groats Airport Consultative Committee, Councillor Raymond Bremner, said:
“This service of flights to and from the airport was launched in April this year so over Christmas and New Year last year we did not have the option to use it.
“I am sure people will take up the opportunity to book flights this festive season.
“Every effort has been made to ensure as many regular flights as possible operate so people can make full use of them which is especially important for anyone wanting to either return to Caithness or to take up the option to connect to other UK airports.
“Looking forward to 2023 and beyond, the Council is aware of strong local desire for services to other destinations, and we are actively working with partners to explore this possibility.”
Roger Hage, Commercial Director at Eastern Airways, said:
“The restoration of the Wick John O’Groats – Aberdeen service has ensured Caithness has quick and easy access through Aberdeen not only for direct business or employment related needs but also extensive onward UK & European connectivity.
“Delivering a strong level of frequency right up to the Christmas and New Year break with appropriately timed connecting services is even more important given the ongoing rail issues, while also ensuring fare levels are affordable through the close working of all route partners for the benefit of the region.
“Connecting people and places is at the heart of what we as Eastern Airways do and the service was fought so hard to restore.”
The air services between Wick and Aberdeen are operated according to a Public Service Obligation contract between the Highland Council and Eastern Airways.
The funding for the service is provided by Transport Scotland (£1m per annum) and the Highland Council (£300k per annum).
The Highland Council sets the service specification and works with the operator and stakeholders to ensure that a lifeline service is delivered to the community of the North Highlands.