THE NORTH mainland of Shetland has suffered a major blow after around 50 staff at Scatsta Airport were told they are going to lose their jobs by the end of June.
The oil industry airport is going to close after Bristow Helicopters and Eastern Airways lost the contract to fly workers to Shetland and oil installations in the northern North Sea.
The new Integrated Aviation Consortium (IAC) contract has been awarded to a consortium of Babcock and Loganair, and will operate out of Sumburgh rather than Scatsta Airport.
Staff at Scatsta Airport were told on Wednesday morning that they would be out of a job by the end of June, Shetland News understands.
Councillor for the area Alistair Cooper said this afternoon that he had only heard about the development at lunchtime and described it as “really bad news for the area”.
“I am extremely disappointed that we have come to this. I have known for some time that the Integrated Aviation Consortium has been looking at all the options, but I sincerely had hoped that it would stay open.
“These are a lot of jobs, and jobs done by young folk with families, and that is really bad news.”
He highlighted that the redundancies were coming on top of around 100 job losses at the EnQuest-run Sullom Voe Terminal.
These plus other job losses in the supply chain bring the number of redundancies in the sector to nearer 200, Cooper said.
“The one saving grace in all this is that this goes to Sumburgh and with it the possibility that some folk could perhaps transfer to Sumburgh,” he added.
Sources close to the contract said on Wednesday that some additional staff , perhaps in the region of 20, would be needed at Sumburgh Airport to carry out the additional work.
In November 2018, BP pulled out of the IAC and transferred its business to Babcock based at Sumburgh Airport.
At the time the IAC said that losing BP would have no immediate impact on the operation of the contract.
For many years, oil workers from five oil and gas companies have been flown from Aberdeen by Eastern Airways and transferred to helicopters operated by Bristow.
The airport in the north of Shetland is owned by Shetland Islands Council, and had undergone a major upgrade a number of years ago. Serco has been supplying airport facilities to operator Bristow.
Neither Bristow/IAC nor Babcock or Loganair has made any public statement on the development yet, although staff at Scatsta Airport had been waiting for weeks to hear about the contract renewal.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 490 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News