Northern Isles MSPs press importance of local air traffic control

Northern Isles MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott this week met senior representative from Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) to challenge them on air traffic provision across the isles. 

Amid reports that HIAL intended to close air traffic control operations in Kirkwall, Sumburgh and elsewhere across the region, Orkney and Shetland's sought urgent talks with HIAL. They also discussed the issue with the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf last week.

In a meeting last night [Tuesday 25th] with senior representatives from HIAL, it was confirmed to Mr McArthur and Mr Scott that while no decision had been taken, a review of air traffic services across the operating area is being undertaken. It is understood that the review will include an evaluation of air traffic provision.

The MSPs, alongside Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, have made clear to HIAL that the consultation must fully involve all affected communities while staff must be fully informed at the earliest stage.

Following the meeting, Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott said:

"Concerns have been raised with us about the future provision of air traffic control services across the Highlands & Islands, including at Kirkwall and Sumburgh airports. In light of these concerns, we met this week with senior management of Highlands & Islands Airports LTD (HIAL) following an earlier meeting with the Minister for Transport and the Islands.

"HIAL insist that they are in the very early stages of a consultation on how services might change in future. We made clear, however, that this process must involve full and meaningful engagement of staff and the communities directly affected. To date, this does not appear to have happened in the way that it should. Given the lifeline nature of the air services using these airports, that is not acceptable and will need to change. In that context, we look forward to continuing to be involved as discussions are taken forward".


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