The SNP’s Westminster leader has described the news of a private jet departing from Scotland to Moscow as ‘gut-wrenching’.

A flight operated by Panaviatic, a firm which offers charters on private jets was permitted to leave Inverness with a final destination of Moscow, and it has sparked a furious reply by MP Ian Blackford.  

Mr Blackford said the UK cannot allow ‘loopholes’ that permit flights with a final destination of Russia.

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He wrote on Twitter: “To see a private jet leaving Inverness for Moscow is gut wrenching.

“We need to ban all flights to Moscow unless authorised for humanitarian reasons. To see a Highland airfield being used for people, money or goods to reach Moscow is not acceptable.”

The Learjet 60 was flying under the number VPC1, and is registered to a third country. It departed Inverness on Saturday for Moscow.

Mr Blackford asked why Highlands and Islands Airports (HIAL) were only informed of the regulations which mean all UK flights to Russia are ban, were recieved 24 hours after they came into effect.

As the aircraft was registered to a third party in Estonia, it was allowed to leave which the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber said was 'loophole' that needed tightened.

He then called on Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, to tighten the restrictions, and added it was ‘not acceptable’.

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He said: “This guidance was received by Hial last night after the jet to Moscow had departed. In accordance with NOTAM with effect from 21.00 on 25 Feb 2022 no commercial air transport service (charter or scheduled) or private flight, may be undertaken within United Kingdom airspace.

“What this does not cover is aircraft registered in a third country as this one was. I will be raising this tomorrow in Parliament.

Grant Shapps needs to tighten the restrictions. We cannot have loopholes that allow flights with a final destination of Moscow.”

The UK Transport Department said they were aware of the flight and would come back with comment.