WHEN HIAL chairwoman Lorna Jack admitted she went into the meeting with councillors and MSP Tavish Scott on Monday hoping that we would "give HIAL support" for the car parking charges at Sumburgh airport, she quickly and unambiguously found out that was not the case. (HIAL sticking to its guns on car park charging; SN, 20/042018)
Why would we support an additional tax on islanders, when prices to get on and off the island are already higher than average?
It beggars belief that an organisation such as HIAL would attempt to implement this tax on islanders without doing a proper consultation and impact assessment prior to any decision being made, as they did back in 2010. A token gesture of a survey for a handful of folk at the airport is not a consultation.
This is nothing but a lazy way of passing on the burden of balancing HIAL's books to islanders, something which, if you were away long enough, would offset any benefit the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) may bring.
The bus service at the south end is not a dedicated bus service for the airport, and this service only goes between Sumburgh and Lerwick, therefore it only provides a service for 1/3rd of the population of Shetland. Taking a vehicle to the airport is not an option for many, it's an absolute necessity. This is something a consultation and impact assessment would have highlighted if one were done.
I couldn't help but notice on the HIAL website, their Mission Statement aims "to provide and operate....airports which support the communities we serve."
I hope this is taken into consideration when HIAL discuss the alternative options councillors gave to Ms Jack on Monday, and this decision reversed on this basis.
I urge anyone who is opposed to these charges and feel introducing them on our lifeline service is unfair, to contact HIAL as soon as possible and let them know.
Cllr. Ryan Thomson
Chairman of Environment and Transport Committee
Chairman of ZetTrans
Shetland Islands Council