Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has renewed calls to improve facilities at Aberdeen Airport for isles patients following an announcement today of a £20 million redevelopment of Aberdeen Airport.
It is reported that the redevelopment will invest in new passenger and baggage areas aimed at managing increased numbers of passengers.
The news coincides with concerns from patients travelling between Orkney and Aberdeen for hospital appointments about the lack of accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility or passengers who may require specific assistance.
The volume of concerns raised with Mr McArthur have recently increased as result of recurring delays in flights to Orkney and lengthy waits in the Aberdeen airport terminal.
Orkney's MSP has been pressing the management at Aberdeen Airport for some time to improve facilities for patients. Liam McArthur first wrote to Roger Hunt, the then Operations Director at Aberdeen Airport, in September 2013 and secured the creation of a working group to look into enhancements at Aberdeen Airport. The working group was later revealed to have been delayed following inquiries by Orkney’s MSP.
In December, Mr McArthur again pressed the issue by writing to Ben Dempster, the current Operations Director at Aberdeen Airport, seeking a meeting to discuss a timescale for the delivery of improvements to increase accessibility for isles patients.
Following the announcement today, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Given the number of patients who travel through Aberdeen Airport to attend hospital appointments and treatment in Aberdeen it is vital, as I have said before, that steps are taken to make provision for passengers with reduced mobility or passengers who may require specific assistance.
“It is therefore welcome news that Aberdeen International Airport have announced a package of £20 million to improve facilities at Aberdeen Airport. It was disappointing, having secured the creation of a working group to look into enhancements, that the change in airport ownership stalled plans to improve facilities. However, following discussions with senior management I am delighted there will be a new package of investment.
“Hopefully this package of investment will make the airport more accessible and comfortable for isles passengers who have mobility issues or may need extra privacy if they are feeling unwell. That is something I will continue to be relentless about in seeing delivered, especially for Isles passengers facing these very specific challenges.”