Customers will be able to make bookings for next year on Northern Isles ferries from Monday.
Operator NorthLink has now received authority from the Scottish government through Transport Scotland to open up the bookings.
The news was welcomed by Highlands & Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, who on Friday had described the delay in approving the new timetables as “unacceptable”.
The Conservative member had written to the transport minister Michael Matheson and to NorthLink seeking clarification over the situation, pointing to the risk to island businesses and the inconvenience to passengers.
Following the announcement Mr Johnston said: “This is welcome news that, following my recent contact with the transport secretary and NorthLink, businesses and passengers will now be able to make bookings for 2019.
“As I said previously, it is far from satisfactory that approval of 2019 timetables by the Scottish government has taken so long, when individuals will already have been looking to make travel arrangements ahead of the Christmas and Hogmanay season.
“I will be making clear to ministers that this situation shouldn’t happen again and that, in future years, timetables should be approved in good time to provide certainty to passengers and businesses.”
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