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Route development fund to be scrapped

01.12.07

The air route development scheme that has helped secure new flights for Scotland's airports is to be scrapped. The Route Development Fund currently offers subsidies to airlines to set up new new routes - giving thousands of passengers from Scotland direct access to cities in Europe and worldwide, including routes to New York, Atlanta, Toronto and Dubai, as well as bringing foreign tourists to the country.

However the SNP lead Scottish Government say a changing in European rules meant the scheme, introduced in 2002 by the previous Labour / Lib Dem regime to help secure new and enhance existing direct air services to Scotland, could not continue in its current form. It has promised to honour existing contracts but will not provide any new subsidies. The news came under fire from opposition MSPs, who said ministers should have some form of replacement ready before closing down the fund.

The fund has provided £14.4million over the past 3 years to help subsidise new air routes, initially to European destinations such as Barcelona, Berlin and Prague. It has helped fund direct flights between Glasgow Airport and Dubai, Edinburgh to Atlanta, Madrid and Munich, Aberdeen to Oslo, Brussels and Copenhagen and Prestwick to Gdansk, Dusseldorf and Pisa. Inverness, Prestwick, Sumburgh and Dundee have also benefited from the fund.

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