Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today renewed calls for improvements in the facilities available for isles patients travelling to and from Aberdeen.
Those travelling between Orkney and Aberdeen for hospital appointments have repeatedly raised concerns about the effect that flight delays are having on their treatment, with many missing appointments and having to wait weeks or months for these to be rescheduled. In one reported case a patient had accumulated 36 hours of delays and missed four appointments in the past 11 months alone.
Concerns have also been raised about the added problem of those who are already feeling unwell or who have mobility issues, finding themselves having to endure lengthy waits in the airport terminal at both Aberdeen and Kirkwall. Orkney's MSP has been pressing the management at Aberdeen Airport to improve facilities to ensure the airport is more accessible and comfortable for isles patients.
In the light of the most recent revelations about passengers experience, Mr McArthur has written to Ben Dempster, Operations Director at Aberdeen Airport, seeking a meeting to discuss what is being planned and the timescales for delivery. He has also approached Kirkwall Airport to see what more might be done in Orkney to assist passengers who might need additional help or privacy.
Mr McArthur has also written to Maurice Boyle, Director of Operations at Loganair, calling for steps to be taken to ensure patients are given the support they need while travelling with Loganair.
Commenting, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
"While flight delays have affected many passengers, I have been particularly concerned at the impact of this disruption for the large number of patients who use these lifeline routes. Tackling the root causes of these delays is obviously the priority, but in the meantime there are steps that can be taken on a number of fronts.
"I have therefore called on Loganair to work with their ground handling teams and airport operators to ensure that passengers travelling between Orkney and Aberdeen to attend hospital appointments are given the support they need. I know that airport and Loganair staff at Kirkwall are on hand and routinely provide invaluable assistance to passengers. However, I am keen to establish if there is more that can be done to set aside discreet space for patients who find themselves delayed.
"By contrast, a lack of Loganair/Flybe representatives at Aberdeen Airport does create problems, particularly in the event of delays. Facilities needed to make patients more comfortable while they wait are also needed.
“That is why I have again pressed senior management at Aberdeen Airport for an update on their plans to address these very specific issues, particularly in the context of recent flight disruption."