Flights to Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra
The Outer Hebrides are a group of beautiful islands that are located in the North West of Scotland. The islands have beaches that are as good as the Carribean, yes really! If you don’t believe me, check out most post on the fabulous Isle of Harris. As well as the golden beaches, you can expect truly breathtaking scenary and a tranquility that is hard to beat. Many people take the Ferry to the Outer Hebrides but if you are coming from outside Europe or don’t fancy the long drive to the islands, there are other options by plane. This post will tell you all about the options available for flights to Stornoway, Benbecula and Barra to help you decide on the best option for you.
You’re Also Going to Need a Car (Or a Cool Camper Van)
If you are flying to the Outer Hebrides then you are going to need a car to get around. To help you with this part, I’m going to follow up this post with another one that will introduce a couple of local car hire companies and also a very special way to drive a retro camper van around these wonderful islands. In normal From Real People style all the companies are local, family-run businesses so make sure to check these out soon and hear their personal stories. Hopefully, they will help to inspire you to take a trip to this stunning corner of Scotland.
A Quick Look at the Different Options
First things first, lets take a quick look at the different options you have to catch flights to Stornoway, Benbecula or Barra. Hopefully my little map below gives you a better idea of the geography of the 3 airports in the Outer Hebrides. Once you are on the Outer Hebrides, the various ferries of Cal Mac makes it easy to drive from one to the other. If you want to fly to Barra or Benbecula then you have to fly from Glasgow. For Stornoway, there are also flights from Edinburgh and Inverness, which makes it a great way to combine the Outer Hebrides into any holiday in Scotland.
NEW FOR 2018: Loganair have now also started summer flights to Stornoway from Manchester. If you are coming to the Outer Hebrides from Canada or the USA this means you can fly direct to Manchester and onwards to Stornoway.
Fly to Barra in the South and Land on the Beach
Of all the flights that you can take in the world, landing on the beach in Barra is one of those special experiences that anyone with a love of flying has to do at least once in their life. The airport is the only one in the world that actually uses a beach as the runway. This means that the flight times vary depending on the tide. The only destination for flights to Barra is Glasgow and the flight is operated by Loganair using a 19 seat Twin Otter aircraft. The airline will even give you a special certificate to prove to others that you flew on this special flight. There is at least one flight a day each way between Glasgow and Barra, two flights on all week days and somedays there is a third flight. Check out the Loganair website for more information and to book tickets.
Fly to Benbecula in the Heart of the Uists
The island of Benbecula sits in the middle of the Outer Hebrides sandwiched between North and South Uist. This makes it a great base for exploring the area and you can hire a car for collection at the airport from Car Hire Hebrides that I will tell you more about later. If you are planning to fly to Benbecula then you will need to fly from Glasgow. There are normally 2 flights a day and it takes around 50 minutes on the Loganair Saab 2000 turboprop aircraft. One certain days of the week, there are also flights to Inverness that operate via Stornoway, which gives another option.
More Options to Stornoway in the North
Stornoway airport is located on the Isle of Lewis, which is the most Northerly island of the Outer Hebrides. It’s the largest and busiest airport in the area. This means that there is a wider range of places to fly from. The most flights to Stornoway are from Glasgow with 27 flights a week with Loganair on their 50 seat Saab 2000 aircraft. It’s easy to combine a trip to the Outer Hebrides with a few days in Edinburgh thanks to the Loganair’s 10 flights a week on the slightly smaller 34 seat Saab 340. You can also fly with Loganair from Inverness (18 flights a week) and with Flybe (operated by Eastern Airways) from Aberdeen (5 flights a week). Finally, as I mentioned earlier on, for summer 2018 Loganair have a new flight from Manchester that operates once a week on a Saturday.
Loganair – Scotland’s Airline
Loganair is without doubt Scotland’s Airline with a long and proud history serving the people of Scotland since 1962. The airline was first established by construction boss Willie Logan with a single Piper Aztec flying from Edinburgh. It grew considerably throughout the 60s and 70s before being bought by the Airlines of Britain Group in 1983. After 10 years the airline became a British Airways franchise and things became even tougher in 1994 when all of the Loganair routes outside Scotland where transferred to Manx Airlines. In 1997, a management buy out took place with the airline fleet standing at just 6 aircraft. From 2008, Loganair operated routes across Scotland under a franchise from Flybe but this agreement was terminated in August 2017.
On 1 September 2017, Loganair began operations again in it’s own right with a fleet of over 25 aircraft. The airline goes from strength to strength and is continually expanding it’s route network across Scotland and beyond. Loganair is very much a community based airline that is dedicated to supporting the community that it serves. Hopefully this post has shown what a viable option it is to get flights to Stornoway and the other destinations in the Outer Hebrides. The more their services get used the better they can continue to provide their vital services to the rural communities of Scotland.