CalMac boss warns islanders that the next year or two will be challenging

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, CalMac CEO Robbie Drummond apologized to Arran residents for the recent disruption to ferry services after Ailsa Curran, owner of a resident and tourism company, told the program that ferries have been shut down for the past few years years had “gone downhill”.

Four ferries are currently under construction in Turkey, along with the Glen Sannox and the as yet unnamed Hull 802, which faced significant delays and cost overruns during construction at state-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow.

The delayed ferries are scheduled to start operating in May this year and January 2024 respectively.

READ MORE: Fears new ferries may never set sail as Scottish Government-owned shipyard company’s budget lags behind

But before the new ships arrive, the aging fleet is likely to see more disruption, Mr Drummond suggested.

“Again, I feel sorry for the people of Arran and indeed throughout our network. We’re working incredibly hard to get these ferries back in service, but the next year or two will be challenging until we see these new ships come into play,” he said.

But he assured passengers and islanders that “everyone at CalMac is absolutely focused on providing the best possible service.”

After the vessels were delivered by Ferguson Marine, Mr Drummond said this would allow the fleet to have a backup ferry to call on should there be technical problems or times of higher demand.

Mr Drummond said a combination of an aging fleet and a lack of replacement vessels is causing disruption to island communities.

“The challenge is simply that there is a lack of investment. If you look back over the last 10 to 15 years we haven’t had this level of investment in new ferries,” he said.

“The positive thing is that this investment is here now.” CalMac boss warns islanders that the next year or two will be challenging

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