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First Minister launches new Isle of Man link

Minister in front of plane

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed Isle of Man Chief Minister Allan Bell as he touched down on one of the first flights restoring the direct airlink between Scotland and the Isle of Man.

Mr Salmond and Mr Bell met during a visit by the First Minister to the island last July when they pledged to work together to restore the airlink before the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Citywing is now operating nine return flights a week between Glasgow and Ronaldsway airports, further strengthening business, tourism and cultural links between Scotland and the Isle of Man.

During their visit, the Isle of Man delegation led by Mr Bell will take part in bilateral Government meetings, business engagements and visit the Commonwealth Games venues in Glasgow ahead of the games this Summer, in which the Isle of Man are competing.

The First Minister Alex Salmond, said: “I am delighted to offer a warm welcome to the Chief Minister and his delegation to Scotland particularly given they arrived on one of the first reinstated flights between Glasgow and the Isle of Man.

“During my visit to the Isle of Man last summer, the Chief Minister and I made a pledge to restore these flights between Scotland and the Isle of Man in time for the Commonwealth Games and both Governments have worked hard together to make this happen. I’d also like to congratulate Glasgow Airport and Citywing on their efforts in securing this important route.

“These flights will serve as a symbol of the close historical, social and cultural links between Scotland and the Isle of Man, providing a boost to tourism and business on both sides of the water.”

Chief Minister Alan Bell said: “The return of direct flights between the Isle of Man and Scotland is fantastic news for both countries and an example of what can be achieved when we act in partnership with our neighbours. Both governments, together with Citywing, have worked hard to make this happen.

“The air route between us was simply too important to lose and its restoration will stimulate tourism and business on both sides of the water. It is particularly pleasing to see the new service in place ahead of the Commonwealth Games, in which the Isle of Man is competing.

“I am sure many people will travel to Glasgow at the end of July to cheer on the Island team and in return we can offer Scottish visitors a warm welcome at the TT Races and our Year of Culture celebrations.”

David Buck, managing director of Citywing, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide direct flights between the Isle of Man and Scotland as it is extremely vital as a business and tourism link. In the long term, we are confident that the social and economic benefits of this transport link will continue to grow. This will in turn bring significant benefits to both communities.”

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “The Isle of Man has always been a popular destination and we were delighted that Citywing decided to reinstate an important business and tourism link. Bookings are already proving strong, which should come as no surprise when you consider the strong links between the Scottish and Manx economies.

“Events such as the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Isle of Man TT race will undoubtedly contribute to the popularity of the route and we are looking forward to working closely with Citywing to ensure its success at Glasgow Airport.”

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