An airline has ended services to a famous Scottish island.

Hebridean Air Services, described as Britain's smallest scheduled airline, made the move because of low passenger numbers, it said.

The airline operates services from Oban to islands such as Coll, Tiree and Colonsay including routes subsidised by Argyll and Bute Council.

The route to Islay, famed for its natural beauty and whisky heritage, was not subsidised.

READ MORE: Glasgow Airport numbers surge

Martin McWilliam, of Hebridean Air Services, told The Herald: "The Oban – Islay service was never part of the subsidised services operated under the PSO [Public Service Obligation] contract with Argyll and Bute Council.

"When Hebridean Air Services took over this contract, following the demise of Highland Airways, the route was introduced and integrated into the scheduled routing with the flights to the Island of Colonsay but operated on a strictly commercial basis.

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He also said: "The route has never been particularly profitable and with the fall in passenger numbers following the Covid epidemic we decided to persevere it in the hope the passenger numbers would pick up."

Mr McWilliam added: "Sadly, the passenger numbers continued to be poor and we regrettably took the decision to stop operating to Islay."

READ MORE: Scottish airport named for new subsidised flight route

The news comes as air travel recovers following the pandemic, with new routes launched from Glasgow and a link-up with Turkish Airlines flagged by the national flag carrier, the world's largest airline by countries served.

As Glasgow Airport reported a passenger numbers surge, Edinburgh Airport was  named for a subsidy for a new route to La Palma in the Canary Islands.