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Transport / Jack appointed as chair of HIAL

HIAL chairwoman Lorna Jack. Photo courtesy of BBC Radio Shetland.

THE WOMAN who has guided Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) through a controversial period has been made chairwoman of the organisation – a decision that has drawn the fire of Shetland MSP Tavish Scott.

Lorna Jack was appointed chair of HIAL on Thursday by cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson MSP.

She was previously appointed interim chair of the Scottish Government owned organisation in October 2017 after being made a non-executive director of HIAL in 2014 and has steered HIAL through a period of controversy.

HIAL has made itself unpopular in Shetland by imposing car parking charges at Sumburgh at the beginning of December despite a long-running campaign against them.

Scott said: “This SNP decision is not good. Their candidate has imposed car parking charges at Sumburgh, ripped up the Islands Bill and ignored any pretence at proper consultation.

“Jack is also the main cheerleader for a disastrous centralisation of air traffic control services with the potential loss of skilled, well paid jobs from Shetland. This is a bad decision.”

Matheson however pinned his faith on Jack to continue her “admirable” work in charge of HIAL.

He said: “I congratulate Lorna on her appointment as chair of the board of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd on a permanent basis.

“She has performed admirably in the role on an interim basis, helping HIAL continue to deliver for the communities that rely on these vital air links. I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

HIAL operates 11 airports in the Highlands and Islands, none of which, it says, are commercially sustainable without subsidy.

Jack, a chartered accountant and a graduate of Aberdeen University, is also chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland and a trustee and treasurer of the McConnell International Foundation.

She begins her three year appointment on 1 February and will be paid £310 per day and will work six days per month.