Bust Highland Airways' Plane in New Batman Film The Dark Knight Rises

Highland Airways' plane G-UIST was part of a fleet of nine aircraft

An aircraft from a collapsed Scottish airline has been used for stunts in the making of the new Batman film, it has emerged.

The fuselage of the Highland Airways plane was used in scenes shot in the Highlands for The Dark Knight Rises.

The Inverness-based airline collapsed in 2010 with debts of £4.5m after a potential rescue deal fell through.

Highland Airways, which employed more than 90 people, had operated flights in Scotland and Wales.

Staff gave up a combined total of almost £750,000 in wages as part of efforts to keep the company afloat.

Highland Airways operated a fleet of nine aircraft, running services between Cardiff and Anglesey, Stornoway and Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides and Oban and the Inner Hebrides.

Its other activities had included delivering newspapers to some Scottish islands, corporate staff shuttles and air charter.
Batman Christian Bale as Batman in the new film directed by Christopher Nolan

The company's problems came to light at the start of 2010 after severe weather led to cancelled flights and worsening debts.

Its board voluntarily placed the business into administration.

Administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) confirmed the sale of Inverness-based Jetstream 31 G-UIST for the film production.

PwC partner Bruce Cartwright said: "There was real diversity in the notes of interest in purchasing the planes after the airline went out of business.

"This included film production firms, who appear to schedule activity years in advance and were, at the time, teeing up a number of movies in the UK.

"We never imagined that they would look for their props via an administration."

He added: "It will be great to go and see the movie in the summer and to not only spot scenic Scottish locations but to be able to say 'we sold that plane and now it has a film career'."

Parachute jumps

It is understood the fuselage was cut up for some of the film's elaborate stunts.

Shooting scenes for The Dark Knight Rises in the Highlands generated £1.1m for the local economy, according to a Highland Council report published in March.
Anne Hathaway as Catwoman Anne Hathaway plays Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises

The paper, prepared for Highland councillors, said more than 200 crew spent two months in the area, using local services, suppliers and accommodation.

The report said the movie's production manager was aware of the "quality of support" in the Highlands from his work on Mel Gibson's Braveheart in the 1990s.

Stuntmen and a film crew made parachute jumps at an airstrip in the Cairngorms as part of the production.

Parachutists dressed in black and, using a private jet painted black, flew out of Cairngorm Gliding Club's site at Feshie Bridge.

An ex-military C130 transport plane used in the filming was also based at Inverness Airport and an empty hangar taken over by its crew.

The Dark Knight Rises stars Christian Bale as Batman, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy in the role of villain Bane.

Gary Oldman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt also star.

Its British director Christopher Nolan directed two previous Batman movies, as well as the films Inception and Memento.

Source: Steven McKenzie http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-18114689

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