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Coronavirus / BP offshore flights to bypass isles due to coronavirus

The Clair Ridge platform west of Shetland. Photo: BP

BP’s helicopter flights to offshore platforms will temporarily stop travelling from Shetland as the oil giant aims to “remove unnecessary footfall” from the isles amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The flights will instead fly direct to the installations west of Shetland from Aberdeen.

The measure is due to be introduced from Tuesday and it is said to impact around a dozen flights per week.

BP flies helicopters from Sumburgh Airport in partnership with aviation company Babcock.

A spokesperson for BP said: “As part of our mitigation measures during the delay phase of Covid 19 (Coronavirus), we have taken the decision to transport individuals to our west of Shetland installations direct from Aberdeen instead of their normal transit through Shetland.

“This is a temporary measure intended to help remove unnecessary footfall on Shetland and to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.”

A spokesperson for Bristow, which operates helicopter flights for oil and gas companies from Scatsta, said there were currently no changes in operations at the north mainland airport as the company follows government guidance.

Shetland currently has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus, but health officials expect this number to rise “substantially” in the coming weeks.