SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

Tesco to fly in freight

TESCO has hired a Hercules freight plane to help restocking empty shelves in its Lerwick super store.

The company said it had started looking at alternative options when ferry operator NorthLink cancelled passenger and cargo boats for the second night running.

Store manager Paul Clelland confirmed on Friday evening that a Hercules freight plane is to make four flights into Sumburgh airport on Saturday and Sunday.

He said the Lerwick store has had its busiest day ever on Friday after NorthLink announced disruptions to its service until Sunday, due to the stormy weather.

Clelland said: “The hope is that the first flight into Sumburgh airport will arrive at 11am. It will return with a second load at 3.30pm. The same schedule is planned for Sunday.

“We do this because we have got a lot of very loyal customers and Christmas is a very important time of year. People want to enjoy Christmas with their friends and family”

“It is an opportunity for us to use our scale to do something for the public in Shetland.

“Obviously it is going to be expensive, but it is the right thing to do. We have been more than rewarded by people’s loyalty during our time here, and this is an opportunity to give something back.”

Meanwhile local MSP Tavish Scott has called on the government help alleviate the situation.

He said: “I have contacted Transport Minister Keith Brown today and asked the Scottish Government to consider helping with air freight.

“I appreciate how hard companies, especially Loganair, are working to put on extra flights.  I also recognise the sterling efforts of Tesco in Lerwick to get their stores resupplied.”