Category Archives: Transport Forum

Tiree-Oban Air Service Re-Tender

A&BC has decided to re-tender the original faIled tender.

There is NO increase in the subsidy.

Irrespective there will be a break in service  from mid May through to mid Oct,  unless some  interim service provision can be agreed.

However A&BC’s Re-Tender COVERING LETTER 8 Mar 2019  offers any tenderer a panoply of flexibility,  and freedom, to develop their own proposals on:-

The aircraft type they wish to use;
● The service timetable they wish to implement;
● Any seasonal variation to the service timetable they wish to implement;
● Months of service operation e.g. spring to autumn service only;
● The pricing schedule they wish to implement;
● The marketing and advertising approach for the service

These flexibility options linked to other incentives should ensure there is a tendered proposal which A&BC may, or may not, take to a positive conclusion by Oct.

For your information Argyll and Bute Council published the re-tender on 7th Mar.

These links take you to the to the re-tender documentation with submissions required latests Thursday 2nd May 2019 at 12 noon.

 Contract Notice – Public Contracts Scotland:

 Invitation to Tender and access to Tender Document / Submit a Response – PCS-Tender:

Tiree-Oban Air Services Under Threat


Tiree may lose it .

Cast your memory back to the summer, and the August Consultation regarding Argyll Air Services from Oban to Coll, Tiree ,and Colonsay which are subsidised by Argyll and Bute Council (A&BC)

A&BC decided in Feb 2018 to reduce its subsidy to £512,207pa for the new tender period ie 2019-2022. This was a reduction from £720,756 pa from the previous tender period .

Argyll Air Services were put out to tender in Sept 2018. When the tender closed two months later (Nov), only one submission was received. It was rejected, being deemed non-compliant. This sole bid was from the current service provider, HebAIR. TCC /TTF has not been informed as to the reason(s) HebAIR bid was rejected ,but can only assume the reduced subsidy was a significant factor.

In the interim period A&BC has considered options to move forward. After intense lobbying, jointly from Coll,Colonsay and Tiree Community Councils, the Policy and Resources Committee(PAR), at its most recent meeting decided to re-tender the tender, but under EU tender rules, any resulting positive tender award can only re-commence services from 28 June 2019.

It is unclear, at this stage, what the re-tender will specify , but Tiree has to anticipate that air services to Oban may cease as of 15 May 2019.

TCC/TTF has submitted the letter below to all parties ,incl Mike Russell MSP ,and hopes for a positive outcome from this re-tender to ensure a prompt re-commencement of Oban air services.

To all parties :

Argyll Air Services.

We were obviously relieved to hear last week that the Policy and Resources Committee (PAR)decided to re-tender for the Argyll Air Service.

We do appreciate the considerable sums that Argyll and Bute Council have spent over the last decade, both on the PSO itself and the running of three airports.

We on Tiree place an extremely high value on this service for the reasons set out in our joint letter to the PAR Committee. Clearly, it would be a major step backwards if an island group such as the Inner Hebrides did not have an air service connecting it to its regional hub. We are committed to restoring the service as soon as possible after it lapses on 15 May 2019.

Our concern now, however, is that simply sending out exactly the same tender documents to the same airlines will result in the same answer: no compliant submissions to the tender.

Our feeling now is that Argyll and Bute Council should introduce additional flexibility into the second tender document to allow any potential operator to make a value for money bid, based upon their own operating and cost centre criteria. This would maximise the chances of retaining a renewed Argyll Air Service within the financial constraints agreed by the Council for the next three years.

As part of this flexibility, one proposal that you might want to consider is switching the Oban-Tiree service to a commercial basis route. On this basis, Oban-Tiree would come out of the PSO and operate in much the same way that Hebridean Air Services currently operates the Oban-Islay route. Our understanding is that passenger figures and profiles are broadly similar on the Tiree and Islay routes.

We have to say that we have been disappointed over the last two weeks by the lack of information and consultation that our community’s representatives have received from elected Council members and officials. We do understand the principles of commercial confidentiality, but we do not think we should be receiving almost all of our news from the media. We would certainly be interested to see a copy of the new tender document.

Please come back to us if you would like to discuss this further. Thank you for your work on this project,

Yours sincerely,

John MacCaskill, Chair, Tiree Transport Forum

Dr John Holliday, Convenor, Tiree Community Council

Proposed ’18 Banked Flights’ Schedule – Glasgow to Tiree Air Service – 2019

Proposed ’18 Banked Flights’ Schedule – Glasgow to Tiree Air Service – 2019

TCC at its 6 Feb Meeting agreed to this  proposed schedule to be put put forward to the Tiree Transport Forum for consideration prior to formal submission to Loganair and Transport Scotland for their review. The remainder of Banked flights are the same as last year i.e. Additional Saturday flights over peak holiday seasons.

The proposed 18 Banked Additional Flights are as follows:-

1. Additional Easter Friday flight (any time) on Friday 05th April (standard 2x flights already full);
2. Tiree 10k – Additional morning flight on Sat 04th May;
3. Tiree 10k – Additional afternoon flight on Sun 05th May;
4. Additional Peak Summer flight – Sat 06th July;
5. & 6. TMF – Additional morning and afternoon flights (4 flights in total that day) on Fri 12th July;
7. TMF – Additional lunchtime flight on Sat 13th July;
8. TMF – Addition lunchtime flight on Sun 14th July;
9. & 10. TMF – Additional morning and afternoon flights (4 flights in total that day) on Mon 15th July;
11. Additional Peak Summer flight on Sat 20th July;
12. Additional Peak Summer flight on Sat 27th July;
13. Additional Peak Summer flight on Sat 03rd Aug;
14. Additional Peak Summer flight on Sat 10th Aug;
15. August Livestock Sales on Sat 17th Aug – Additional flight with a requested 08:30am departure from Glasgow to fit in with sales times (Note:- Also request a later amended departure time to the current scheduled second flight time to 16:30pm out of Glasgow, again to accommodate sales times);
16. Tiree Ultra – Additional flight (any time) on Sat 07th Sept;
17. Tiree Ultra – Additional flight late afternoon on Sun 08th Sept;
18. Tiree Ultra – Additional flight (any time) on Mon 09th Sept.

Proposed Banked Flights Saturday Reductions (Down to 1x Saturday Flight) on:

26th October to 21st December 19  = 8 flights in total
11th January to 14th March 20 = 10 flights.


MV Clansman / MV LOTI switches

Calmac advise that the MV Lord of the Isles will commence on the Tiree service on Sunday 27th January – ie two days earlier than originally planned . This is due to the Clansman being switched earlier into the Arran service to cover an additional delay to the MV Caledonian Isles’ Dry Docking(DD )

Go to :

MV Clansman :As per CalMac’s previous advise, the MV Clansman will also be switched into the UIG triangle  for most of March whilst the MV Hebrides is in DD.

Calmac’s current advise is that this be will from approximately Sat 2nd March to Tuesday 26th March andexpect MV Lord of the Isles to run to the published Clansman timetable.’

Tiree Linkspan/CMAL and CalMac Presentations

Tiree Linkspan/CMAL and CalMac Presentations

Click on the links below to copies of the  CMAL and CalMac presentations in An Talla on 4th Dec


The proposed ‘works’ period will be Feb-March 2020

If you have any queries /comments please forward them via the comment response  form on the CMAL website.

Re freight, and associated transport issues, TCC has already identified the following to be addressed.

It is not exhaustive. Any additional issues you feel need to be addressed please advise TCC.

  1. How many sailings/week are being considered

  1. Can the pallet carrier carry private cars (obviously it is possble )

  1. Transporting fuel it an issue?

  1. Implications for public utilities eg BT,SSE and NHS

  1. Implication for crofters ie feed and fertiliser supply

  2. Any livestock movements possible ie in trailers?

  3. Palletisation of goods where /when and how

  1. Utilisation of mobile cranes to ‘palletise’ the Clansman

  9 Utilisation of mobile cranes to LO-LO vehicles on/off the Clansman

10 Funeral Arrangements

11 Freight groupage arrangements

Also CalMac to explore the possibility of offering a car hire package ex Oban ie ‘X days hire for price of car by ferry, with pick-up/drop off Oban pier.

 CMAL-presentation-Tiree-linkspan-refurbishment 5 Dec

CalMac-presentation-Tiree 5 Dec

Tiree Linkspan Replacement CMAL Press release

CMAL Press release:


CMAL to host public meetings to share plans with community –

Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) has announced it is planning to replace the linkspan decks at the ferry terminals at Coll and Tiree.

£3.7 million funding has been secured and, following a public sector procurement exercise, construction contractor George Leslie Limited has been appointed to undertake the works.

CMAL will host public meetings to share details of the planned arrangements for the linkspan deck replacements.  Communities are invited to attend their local meeting:

An Talla Community Hall, Tiree Tuesday 4th December, 4.00pm – 7.30pm

Individuals are welcome to drop-in at any time during the meetings.  Representatives from CMAL, CalMac and engineering firm Mott MacDonald will discuss the timing of the construction projects, details of the replacement process, port closure and the alternative ferry service arrangements to be in place during the works.  It is anticipated the work will take place in late autumn 2019 at Coll and early spring 2020 at Tiree.

 Brian Sydney, senior civil engineer at CMAL said: “The linkspan decks at the two ferry terminals are reaching the end of their serviceable life and are being replaced as part of our ongoing programme of harbour upgrades and improvements.  We expect each replacement will require a port closure period of three to four weeks to complete the works, subject to weather conditions.  If we can reduce the timescale, we will.  We know that timing and connectivity is vital for the islands and our aim is to minimise disruption as far as possible.

 “We will work closely with Calmac and our contractor to ensure that alternative ferry services for passengers and freight can be maintained throughout the construction period.”

 David Gibson, service delivery director, CalMac said:“We are aware of how important these lifeline services are to the islands and we are committed to minimising the impact on customers and the local community while these works are carried out.

Ferry Investment

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (REC) chose earlier this year  to carry out pre-budget scrutiny on the strategic investment required to support Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services (CHFS).

This has included three ‘ evidence’ sessions which has taken evidence from:-

CalMac-: Robbie Drummond (CEO) /  Simon Hulme IT Director/David McGibbon( Chairman)

CMAL:- Kevin Hobbs (CEO)/Jim Anderson (Tech Dir)

Others:-Angus Campbell (Ch/man CalMac Community Board)/Rob McKinnon (Outer Hebrides Tourism)/Ranald Robertson (HITRANs)/Roy Pedersen(Consultant  and author of Who Pays the Ferryman? – The Great Scottish Ferry Swindle) 

The relevant REC reports are  on the REC’s w/site  

TCC made this submission to the REC  

This pre-budget scrutiny has resulted in the foll primary recommendations to Scottish Government

Future strategic planning and associated investment:
The Committee—
• Calls on the Scottish Government to respond to criticisms of the lack of resilience in the fleet and to the evidence that CMAL has received less than half the amount of funding required over the last 10 years.
• In anticipation of the budget publication in December, the Committee recommends that the Scottish Government prioritise ferries investment with a focus on procuring new vessels to reduce the average age across the fleet and improve service reliability.
• In conjunction with this budget prioritisation the Committee calls on the Scottish Government to conduct an urgent review of the Ferries Plan to meet current and future needs. The islands must be served by a network of routes that fully meet the needs and aims to meet the aspirations of communities and encourage their long-term sustainability. The Committee considers it to be imperative that these proposals are underpinned by a fully co-ordinated strategy for the staged, ongoing replacement or refurbishment of vessels and any necessary work to upgrade ports infrastructure. It is essential that the strategy is supported by a delivery plan that includes a realistic and achievable programme of funding, which will give confidence to island communities and other ferry users. This ongoing programme of funding should be clearly reflected in all future Scottish Government budgets.
• As part of this review, the Committee recommends that the Scottish Government reflect on whether it may be more appropriate to procure a larger number of smaller vessels as opposed to larger, more expensive vessels, to meet future needs on certain routes. Although, it notes suggestions made in evidence that larger vessels may be more environmentally friendly and require a lower number of crew members across the service.
• The Committee recommends that the review should consider provision across the whole network with a focus on removing bottlenecks to each island community. Consideration should be given to identifying the islands where capacity is particularly constrained across a full operating day.
Other port infrastructure issues
The Committee—
• Asks for further clarity on how the berthing dues which CalMac pays to Trust, local authority or privately-owned ports are used. It asks the Scottish Government whether it would be possible for any requirement to be placed on these organisations to invest a proportion of those dues in harbour maintenance and investment.
• Where port infrastructure works are required the Committee recommends that the Scottish government work with all harbour owners to encourage a standardisation of ferry berthing points to allow greater flexibility in the network and allow a wider number of vessels to access ports.
Road Equivalent Tariff
The Committee—
• Recommends that the Scottish Government reflect on the evidence the Committee has received about ways in which RET may be further improved and developed in future. For example, differential or dynamic pricing and the ability for islanders to take priority, particularly in emergency situations. This evidence should be taken into account as part of the 2019 RET review.
• Notes the record number of visitors to the islands and calls for the Scottish Government’s views on ways in which the existing fleet and any additional resources might be used more flexibly and creatively to deal with freight and commercial business and alleviate pressure on regular passenger sailings.
Tendering and state aid rules
The Committee—
• Recommends that the Scottish Government review the procurement practice of ferry tendering in countries where state aid rules apply but they appear to be able to achieve a greater degree of flexibility and innovation to see what learning can be applied in Scotland.

Community engagement, equalities and improved customer experience
The Committee—
• Seeks confirmation from the Scottish Government on whether it intends to complete an Islands Impact Assessment on this year’s budget.
• Notes that the islands, like the rest of Scotland, have an aging population. It is essential that any new Ferries Plan and investment strategy take the changing needs and demographics of the islands into account.
• Believes that comprehensive STAG appraisals as well as community and trade union engagement are essential when dealing with life line services. It recommends that it would be good practice to produce an easily accessible response to any public engagement which outlines
what will be taken forward as a result of the exercise and any mitigating actions that will be taken if the action which the community calls for is unable to be delivered.
• Believes that better transport integration should be prioritised as part of any future investment strategy as it would contribute to the achievement of a number of environmental, socio economic, accessibility and funding objectives.

It remains to be seen if the REC’s  recommendations are incorporated in full, or part, in the  Draft Budget for 2019-20, publication expected early Dec

Click on this link for full text of REC_Committee_letter to Cabinet Secretary 

CMAL Tiree Presentation Oct 2018

Kevin Hobbs  CEO of  CMAL  gave a detailed CMAL-Tiree Presentation  to the Tiree Transport Forum (29 Oct)

He explained CMAL’s relationship  with Scottish Government- Transport Scotland- CalMac, the funding mode and income and expenditure streams.

He reviewed the delayed delivery prospects of the two new ferries under construction, which now  dictates a lack of fleet resilience  through till autumn 2020.

He also outlined what he regarded as the’ideal ‘CalMac fleet replacement programme by 2025 ie 10 ferries , 6 ‘ biggies’ all standard units of 90/95m LOA  and 4 small units requiring  upwards of £400m investment.

Ferry Investment has been a major consideration of the REC Committee which has now made detailed recommendations to Scottish Government.