Minister pressed on air traffic control concerns

Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has again raised with the Scottish Government concerns over Highlands and Islands Airports changes to air traffic management at its airports.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, the Conservative MSP said HIAL progressing with plans to introduce the remote, unmanned control  prior to the completion of an island impact assessment was not consistent with the spirit of legislation.

The Conservative MSP said: “It’s no secret that there are profound concerns across my region - particularly in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles - about the safety implications of relying on unmanned control towers. These are concerns I share.

“The Scottish Government own HIAL - they promised that an islands impact assessment would take place and it seems clear that any changes should not happen until the assessment has been carried out and reviewed.

“That is a view shared by  Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and it is therefore disappointing that ministers in Edinburgh seem to be ignoring these entirely reasonable requests.

“I very much hope that, even at this late stage, the Scottish Government will relent and start listening to the concerns of our local communities; those which will be most impacted by these proposed changes”.