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Transport / Strike brings Sumburgh Airport to standstill

A quiet Sumburgh Airport as seen on the Shetland Webcams website on Thursday morning.

SUMBURGH Airport has been brought to a standstill today (Thursday) thanks to a 24-hour air traffic control strike.

The airport is one of six across the Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) network to close to air travel for the day.

The industrial action comes after talks between HIAL and the Prospect union failed to bear fruit.

Sumburgh will be closed from 12.01am to 11.59pm.

HIAL said it “sincerely regrets this escalation of the pay dispute by Prospect members and apologises for the inconvenience that this has caused our customers.”

Air traffic controllers employed by HIAL who are members of the Prospect union want a pay rise of at least 10 per cent to bring their rates closer to staff employed at larger and busier airports, but the government-owned company says it cannot deviate from its pay policy.

Benbecula, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh are all closed to air traffic, while a local arrangement is in place for Wick John O’Groats Airport to remain open.

Air traffic controllers have already been working to rule for a number of weeks, with action including not working beyond airport opening hours.