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Airport waiting room for patients on the horizon

A NEW waiting facility at Aberdeen Airport for medical patients travelling back to Shetland is in line to open its doors next month.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles told a meeting of Shetland’s external transport forum in Lerwick on Wednesday that the waiting room could be available from late October.

He praised a “real team effort” between voluntary groups, the NHS and Northern Isles MSPs on tackling what he described as the current “draughty corridor” waiting area at gates 10-12.

Hinkles warned against calling the quiet waiting area a “lounge” to avoid it being associated with the more luxurious departure lounges found at large airports.

He told a previous external transport forum that Loganair and MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur were “on the warpath” for upgrading facilities at the airport.

Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson asked if Aberdeen Airport was thinking to upgrade the whole of the Northern Isles departure area, which she said had become a “second class facility” compared to the rest of the airport.

Hinkles said he did not believe that would be the case, as the airport was suffering from a downturn in the oil industry and had used much of its budget on improving its security area.