Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has urged the Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson MSP, to be ‘more robust’ in challenging proposals by Highland and Islands Airports ltd (HIAL) to centralise air traffic control services in Inverness.
The call came after the Minister claimed earlier today in parliament that the remote tower model was needed in response to “the increasingly regulatory nature of air traffic control”. While Mr McArthur accepted that regulations relating to controlled airspace would require changes to be made, he argued that this could be done without centralising services.
Responding to the Minister’s comments, Mr McArthur said:
“HIAL’s plans to centralise air traffic control services in Inverness have met with fierce resistance in Orkney and across the Highlands & Islands. A range of concerns from safety to the impact on local jobs have been raised to which HIAL’s management has failed to provide satisfactory answers.
“From my meetings with local staff, it seems clear that HIAL’s consultation has been largely cosmetic with the outcome predetermined from the start. That is not good enough.
“When HIAL’s own advisers have admitted that these plans are the most complex and costly option, the Transport Secretary owes it to passengers, HIAL staff and the communities served by these lifeline services to robustly challenge HIAL’s assumptions. On today’s evidence, he seems too willing to accept those assumptions at face value.”