Remember what happened last time? I posted this towards the end of 2005:
Today sees the resumption of the Highlands and Islands Convention. As usual on these occasions, the First Minister arrives bearing gifts, as the Executive's press release points out:
"A funding package of around £6 million had been agreed to create a new regional air hub in Oban and new licensed airfields on the islands of Coll and Colonsay. First Minister Jack McConnell, at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands at Inverary today, said creating the new island airfields will mean islanders and tourists have an alternative to the existing ferry service - opening up the area to increased business and tourism."
It was unfortunate, therefore to read this in The Herald just two weeks ago:
Officially, the Argyll Air Services project has cost £6.25m in capital funding and involves upgrading and creating new hard runways and terminals at Connel and on the islands of Coll and Colonsay.
The Scottish Executive has also agreed to provide around £500,000 worth of subsidies a year to provide twice-weekly scheduled flights to Coll and Colonsay. Also planned are 40 flights a year to each of the islands to help ferry 15 children home from school in Oban for weekends during term time...
The Herald last week rang airline executives to see if they thought the scheme was viable. On condition of anonymity, they all gave the same answer: no.
Oban, more than two hours from Glasgow by car and three hours by train, is just too close to the central belt and too small to sustain regular flights, they said.
More importantly, they added, such flights would be doomed to be unreliable. Connel airfield - or Oban Airport to give it its new official name - will never be able to handle instrument landings. Pilots flying into the airfield, which has 1000ft Ben Lora at the end of its runway, will always have to see where they are going.
"Oban to Glasgow: it can't be done," a senior Scottish aviator told The Herald. "It would be a commercial no-no, an environmental no-no and a practical no-no."
So there's £6 million plus down the drain.
What horrors can we expect from the Convention this week?