Charter company hopes to "open up" the west coast of Scotland with scheduled seaplane service

Britain’s first seaplane airline has been cleared for take off on the river Clyde in the centre of Glasgow. The Civil Aviation Authority and the city council have given their support to Europe’s only passenger seaplane service operating from a city centre in the hope that it will reduce hours of frustrating road travel between Glasgow and the remote areas of the Highlands. Loch Lomond Seaplanes will start regular flights in the New Year from a seaplane terminal close to Glasgow’s Science Centre to destinations such as Arran, Bute, Oban and Tobermoray to open up the west coast of Scotland.

“We want to open up the west coast with a raft of new destinations to be added over the next few months,” said Captain David West, managing director of Loch Lomond Seaplanes. “I would really like to provide a regular service to Skye and possibly even Edinburgh – that would be a journey of little more than 15 minutes from the centre of Glasgow to the Water of Leith.”

The company, which has been successfully operating charter flights out of Loch Lomond for the last three years, reckons the new service will mark a welcome return of seaplanes to the Clyde and “help make Glasgow a city with one of the best waterfronts in the world.”

Councillor Steven Purcell, the Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“These services will be great for tourism, business and those looking to link the Clyde with other Scottish waterways. We’re witnessing massive regeneration of our river and to see the return of the classic seaplane, is another indication of the diverse ways in which we can develop tourism and commerce along the Clyde.”

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. In Canada small float-planes are used almost like buses serving remote coastal communities. The same service could link areas in Scotland, which has 6,200 miles of coastline with 750 major islands and 560 large fresh water lochs.

With the tourism industry worth more than £4 billion a year the new service plans to offer golfing visitors, fishing groups, sightseers and even wedding parties a unique view of Scotland by ferrying them to all corners of the Highlands and Islands.