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CalMac provides update on Islay and Arran services and sets date for new summer timetables

CalMac has announced a temporary update on services for Islay and Arran to provide certainty to communities and customers using the routes.

MV Finlaggan, which is currently serving Islay as a single vessel, will not leave for scheduled annual maintenance as originally planned but will now remain on the Kennacraig to Islay route. She will be joined by MV Hebridean Isles from 8 March. Both vessels will serve the route until 28 March, which is the end of the winter timetable. This approach means Islay will have additional capacity from 7-20 March, with CalMac working hard to provide certainty and capacity over both the Easter period and Feis Ile.

The main Arran route, Ardrossan-Brodick, will be covered by MV Isle of Arran as a single vessel service until the end of the winter timetable, with vessel deployment following this date currently being assessed. The possibility of MV Alfred supporting the route from 9 March, when she is due to return from annual maintenance, is being evaluated.

The service update follows news last week that MV Caledonian Isles, one of CalMac's larger vessels, is estimated to be delayed in annual maintenance for approximately 16 weeks. The 31-year-old vessel has always operated on the Ardrossan-Brodick route. This week, CalMac has been consulting with communities across the entire network to gather feedback on potential redeployment options. This feedback will play a critical role in re-shaped summer deployment plans due to be published on Tuesday 5 March.

Robbie Drummond, Chief Executive of CalMac, said: "We know the fact we are having to redeploy vessels has caused concern in communities across the whole network, and I would like to thank everyone for their understanding and for taking the time to provide their views on several potential redeployment options.

"Given our fleet was already stretched to the limit, it is inevitable the loss of one of our larger vessels during peak season will cause some disruption across the wider network. But our team has been working hard to evaluate what we can do for our summer timetable to minimise that disruption. Any decisions on vessel deployment are not taken lightly.

"The network, and in particular Islay and Arran, will soon benefit from new vessels which will help to provide the resilient service communities deserve. Until they are operational, we will continue to do whatever we can to provide a reliable service."

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