Transport Forum


This page offers the minutes of the Tiree Transport Forum, since Feb 2018, and any other document /report related to Tiree transport issues.

Transport Forum Meeting Minutes 8 Feb 2018

The Feb meeting covered a raft of  transport issues.


Transport Forum Meeting Minutes 10 Oct 2018

This  meeting was a CalMac exclusive  ‘summit meeting‘ which had been delayed since early summer, following the Clansman’s extended withdrawal from Tiree service.

Many Tiree ferry issues were addressed


Transport Forum Meeting Draft Minutes OCT 18

This meeting mainly discussed the GLW-Tiree Air PSO with Michael Bratcher,Aviation Policy, Transport Scotland , and some ferry issues following the 10 Oct Meeting with Calmac, including the subsequent advice, below, re the deployment of the Clansman away from Tiree into the UIG triangle, whilst the Hebrides is in dry-dock .


Winter Dry docking: From CalMac 

This advice (17 Oct) from David Gibson, Calmac’s Director of Service Delivery was discussed:
 Following extensive consideration, I can advise that we intend responding to customer requests to improve resilience on the Uig triangle during the refit period. We will do this by deploying the MV Clansman instead of MVs Isle of Arran and Hebridean Isles when the MV Hebrides goes in to refit in March 2019.
 Planning the deployment of vessels during the winter refit period to provide services at an optimum level is always a challenge but everyone can be assured that considerable thought has gone into finding a way to get the most out of the resources available to us.
 The original plan for the Uig triangle was to deploy MVs Isle of Arran and Hebridean Isles when MV Hebrides was in dry dock in March 2019, however the challenges faced within the fleet have been acknowledged and a more resilient deployment plan has been created.
 The deployment of the MV Clansman in this way will require that MV Lord of the Isles covers Coll, Tiree and Colonsay services from Oban, and MV Isle of Arran will operate between Lochboisdale and Oban, rather than to Mallaig, where she is unable to berth. 
 The plan assumes that all vessels complete their dry dock on schedule and that no further technical disruptions occur. We have analysed the likely capacity utilisation for this period and are confident that we can meet demand with this plan. If you require any further information, please contact your Area Operations Manager.

TTF decided to send this appropriate response (25 Oct)  :-

Dear David
Tiree Transport Forum are in receipt of your letter of the 17th October 2018, one week following your visit to Tiree and a wide ranging meeting with Tiree Transport Forum.
It is extremely disappointing for Tiree Transport Forum members to learn that despite previous firm assurances that MV Clansman is the dedicated vessel for Oban-Coll-Tiree, it now transpires that at the earliest opportunity the vessel is to be deployed elsewhere on the network, “to improve resilience”, following demands from customers using the Uig triangle route. Your letter states that you have given “extensive consideration” to the proposal, and it is all the more discouraging to our members that such consideration did not warrant a mention to us during our lengthy meeting with you, Finlay and Robert.
This kind of ill thought through proposal, and also manner in which it has been delivered, does absolutely nothing to foster any spirit of cooperation between your company and the communities which you exist to serve.
Tiree Transport Forum would urge you to give some further extensive consideration to finding a structured means of retaining a full service to Tiree during the period of MV Clansman dry dock. Everyone, yourselves included, is more than aware of the capacity/weight/load issues that will be presented by deployment of the MV Lord of The Isles to Oban-Coll-Tiree.
Yours sincerely,
John MacCaskill,
Tiree Transport Forum.

CalMac  replied (26 Oct) as below :-

Thank you for your email and I note the Transport Forum’s view.  Firstly, please be assured that we were not withholding any information from you at our meeting. You will recall that we discussed the current pressures on the network and that, notwithstanding our commitment to deliver the best service possible to each community, there may from time to time have to be substitute arrangements.  In Tiree’s case, if the MV Clansman was not available, our experience suggested that although she has slightly lesser capacity, MV Lord of the Isles was the most appropriate replacement. To the best of my recollection, the meeting understood this.
The change to Uig triangle relief cover during MV Hebrides’ dry dock in March, followed concerns from the community that MV Hebridean Isles & MV Isle Of Arran would be unable to provide  a resilient service, based on previous experience of this arrangement and MV Isle of Arran’s recent problems with her propulsion system.  We believe that by deploying MV Clansman to the triangle and MV Lord Of The Isles to Coll/Tiree, this will provide the most resilient service across both routes.  Any capacity issues are manageable.
I recognise that you would not wish to see the MV Clansman redeployed away from Tiree but I am sure you will appreciate the planning constraints that we have to work with to maintain the best service we can across the network. I hope this clarifies the position.
David Gibson
Director of Service Delivery

Tiree Linkspan to be replaced Spring 2020 

On Monday 29th Oct Tiree Community Council, and Tiree Transport Forum, met Kevin Hobbs, CEO, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL), and Richie Morgan CMAL’s Health, Safety and Environmental Manager

We had a very positive, constructive meeting, openly addressing  many ferry issues.

Kevin Hobbs detailed presentation included an over-view of CMAL’s role in ferry and port facility provision, CMAL’s relationship with Scottish Government- Transport Scotland-CalMac,. income and expenditure streams, and the funding model( CMAL Tiree Presentation Oct 2019)


The main discussion concentrated on Tiree’s linkspan replacement.

Kevin Hobbs has requested we publish this statement to inform Tiree of CMAL’s intentions and plans:-

We are planning a project to replace the linkspans at Tiree and Coll Ferry Terminals.  Funding is in place and our engineering team are finalising tender evaluations for the works, with a view to appointing a contractor in the near future.

It is our intention to issue a formal update once a contractor is appointed and to consult with the communities in Tiree & Coll at meetings in December 2018, which we are in the process of arranging. At the meetings CMAL & CalMac will discuss the timing of the construction project, the details of the replacement process and the alternative ferry services to be in place during the works.  While the programme has not been finalised, we anticipate that removal of the existing linkspan at Tiree and installation of a newly fabricated replacement will take place in spring 2020, and that the project will take around three to four weeks to complete.  If we can reduce that timescale, we will, but it will depend upon various factors, such as prevailing weather and repair works that may need to be undertaken once the existing linkspan is removed.

We know that timing is critical to minimise disruption to the island and its connectivity.  CMAL and CalMac are working together to ensure that the alternative ferry services can be maintained throughout the construction period.”

CMAL subsequently issued this Press Release(13 Nov)

– 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 Cridhe, Coll Community Centre, Coll Monday 3rd December, 4.00pm – 7.30pm

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.

Click on:-

CMAL-presentation-Tiree-linkspan-refurbishment 5 Dec

CalMac-presentation-Tiree -Linkspan -refurbishment 5 Dec

The primary concern is what Tiree ferry transport links will be impacted  during the linkspan replacement period?

TCC has asked CalMac a series of questions, in this regard, and has  requested CalMac  to respond  by TCC’s next meeting (Feb).




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 Commmunity 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


Tiree – Oban Air Services:

Latest  update as of 11 March  click on this link 





Banked Flights : Now agreed with Loganair .Click on this link: –


MV Clansman 2020 Dry Dock schedule /LinkSpan Replacement

MV Clansman annual dry dock is currently scheduled from 23rd Jan to 17th Feb

She also will off the Tiree service from 9th Mar through to 24th March covering another route whilst its ferry is in DD. This also co-incides with part of the l/span replacement period (24 Feb-17|Mar2020)

CalMac ,as yet , has not advised the proposed Tiree replacement ferry for both periods.

The Tiree linkspan will be out of service from Monday 24th February 2020 and will be back in service on Tuesday 17th March 2020.  

During this period Tiree will be restricted to a passenger only ferry service . Freight will be carried on a freight -only service from Oban . CalMac propose a Tiree meeting ,after the summer, to discuss the freight service modus operandi.

(posted 15/7/2019)



The following announcement was made by Transport Scotland (6 Sept 2019) 

The contract to operate the Scottish Government-supported flights to and from Barra, Tiree and Campbeltown has been awarded to Loganair.

The new contract, which will run from the 25th October and for the next four years, is worth around £21m.

The routes from Glasgow to the three airports will be operated using HIAL’s Twin Otter DHC6-400 planes.

The service improvements that were announced earlier this year have been built into the new contract.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:

“I’m very pleased to award the contract to operate these vital air links for the next four years to Loganair.

“We have listened to local communities to find out what we could do better and the improvements we announced earlier this year have been built into this new contract to make sure we are supporting them.

“These flights transport people, goods and services, playing a crucial role for service industries and ensuring that residents have access to specialist healthcare. They also enable visitors to reach the islands easily, boosting local tourism.

“I congratulate Loganair on winning this contract and l look forward to seeing these enhanced services bring benefits to the communities they serve.”

Loganair Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles said:

“I’m delighted that Loganair has been selected as the operator to maintain these vital air services, continuing our record of service to the three communities which first began in 1974.

“The award of this new contract represents a vote of confidence in the Loganair team to maintain these lifeline links for a further four years, and we will do all that we can to ensure that confidence is upheld.”