SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, has welcome HIAL’s announcement this morning which confirms that air traffic tower services will continue to be provided at five local airports, including Stornoway.
HIAL’s board met on the 24th January to discuss the views submitted by working groups regarding proposals for alternative delivery options for their ATMS programme.
Surveillance for Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Inverness, Dundee and Stornoway airports will in future be based at HIAL’s existing radar approach facility at Inverness Airport. However, as a result of a sustained effort by local campaigners and politicians, HIAL have now confirmed that air traffic control jobs will continue to be based at individual airports, instead of also being centralised to Inverness.
Commenting after this morning’s announcement, Allan said:
“There have been a number of positive signs in recent months which indicated that campaigners’ hard work on this issue was finally beginning to pay off. I was very pleased to read HIAL’s confirmation this morning that these skilled jobs will remain in Stornoway.
“However, it is important to bear in mind that the decisions regarding Benbecula airport within the ATMS project have not yet been made, and so, work remains to be done.
“I would like to thank all of those who have fought tirelessly against HIAL’s plans to centralise island jobs, and I encourage HIAL to continue engaging constructively with their employees and with Prospect Union to come to a resolution for Benbecula airport which above all prioritises the needs of island communities.”
HIAL have committed to setting up a working group to discuss the future service delivery options for Benbecula and Wick John O’ Groats airports. HIAL’s ATMS programme indicates that the air traffic control service at these airports will be changed to a flight information service, which would align them with the system already in place at HIAL’s smallest airports.