New chapter in Tobermory story with launch of seaplane service to Glasgow

28 Nov 2007

Award winning airline Loch Lomond Seaplanes is to begin regular on-demand flights from the heart of Glasgow to Tobermory on the island of Mull.

Following the success of frequent daily flights to Oban from the river Clyde, next to Glasgow Science Centre, Europe's only city centre seaplane service is expanding its operations across the Highlands and Islands.

Loch Lomond Seaplanes will begin flying up to four times a day to Tobermory from next Spring, reducing travelling time to and from Glasgow to just 31 minutes.

"The introduction of a Glasgow city centre to Tobermory seaplane service up to four times a day will greatly improve transport links between the western isles and the central belt," said David West, Director and founder of Loch Lomond Seaplanes.

"The service, using our nine seat Cessna 208, is modelled on our highly successful Oban route and will run from March through to November.

"I am certain the service will assist the community in many ways such as increasing the number of business trips to and from the island, taking NHS patients to and from the central belt for medical treatment, helping to make council administration more efficient, delivering mail services more promptly, aiding local people to easily access mainland services and increasing the number of tourists visiting the area."

About 400,000 visitors a year travel to the island in search of wildlife and spectacular scenery. As a destination for visitors touring the attractions of the Western Highlands and Islands, the 700-strong community of Tobermory is used to catering for day-trippers and short-break holiday-makers.

"Transport is one of the biggest barriers to business on Mull and Iona and anything that goes towards improving the options for travel is warmly welcomed." said Sandy Brunton, President of the Mull and Iona Chamber of Commerce.

"The seaplane service will provide a faster travel option for people to get to us."

The company, which has been successfully operating charter flights out of Loch Lomond for the last three years, has been working closely with Tobermory Harbour Association to bring about improved airlinks to the mainland.

"It is great news that the seaplane is coming to Tobermory. It will be of great benefit to both visitors and the local populace," said Morag Brown, Project Manager for The Tobermory Harbour Association.

"Loch Lomond Seaplanes run an excellent service and we are all looking forward to it. It will provide visitors with the option of getting to the island quickly and easily while at the same time offering residents a chance to be in Glasgow within minutes rather than hours."

Scotland's geography and abundance of lochs offers a natural alternative transportation network.  A versatile seaplane can take advantage of the unique geography to open up parts of the country that are normally difficult and time consuming to access.

"We are keen to improve transport links across the whole of the west of Scotland and the seaplane provides a sustainable alternative to roads and ferries," said Captain West.

"No contrails, no spent fuel in the high atmosphere, no airport to build - just the use of the water and an existing floating pontoon. If we take just three passengers off the road our flights are carbon neutral."

Seaplanes are a common sight in some of the world's most exotic conservation areas from the wilds of Alaska to Australia's Great Barrier Reef because of their ability to utilise both land and water without causing unnecessary damage to the environment.

In Canada and Alaska small float-planes are used almost like buses serving remote coastal communities and in Scotland, which has 6,200 miles of coastline with more than 700 islands and 560 large fresh water lochs, the possibilities of replicating such a service are endless.

As far back as 1998 the Royal Society of Edinburgh recommended to the government that the use of seaplanes, as part of the solution to solving transport problems in isolated areas, could play a major part in developing rural Scotland and help spread the income from cash-rich but time-poor tourists to areas outside the central belt.

Loch Lomond Seaplanes recently won the coveted Thistle Award for Innovation from VisitScotland as recognition of their pioneering spirit.

"This is a very welcome development that promises to offer the magic of Mull to busy people and those who want to see Mull and the glorious route to it from the air." said Jim Mather, Scotland's minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism.

"This increases further the many ways people can get to Mull and I have no doubt that it will be popular, viable and a great boost to the local economy."

 

For further information please contact the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau on 0141 566 0835  or visit  www.lochlomondseaplanes.com.

  • Loch Lomond Seaplane at Pacific Quay