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Energy / No decision yet on future of Scatsta Airport as move to Sumburgh continues as planned

Offshore workers boarding a Bristow-operated helicopter at Scatsta Airport.Offshore workers boarding a Bristow-operated helicopter at Scatsta Airport.

MEETINGS on the future use of Scatsta Airport have been put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The airport, mainly owned by Shetland Islands Council, is set to close at the end of June after Bristow Helicopters and Eastern Airways lost the contract to fly workers to Shetland and oil installations in the northern North Sea.

Babcock, meanwhile, confirmed that the company and its partner Loganair are still working towards operating flights for a number of oil and gas companies from Sumburgh as planned, starting on 1 July.

A spokesman for Babcock said: “Plans remain in hand as before. We continue to work with CNR International, EnQuest and TAQA towards the first flights on 1 July 2020.

“Of course the safety of all our staff and passengers will always be our first priority and we remain in close discussions with all our customers to ensure we meet their requirements in a safe and timely fashion during these challenging times.”

Shetland Islands Council chief executive Maggie Sandison confirmed that no decision on the future of the site has been made.

“We were having some meetings about Scatsta in the diary but I think they might be being cancelled,” she said.

“At the moment, we’re the owner of the land, and if people have an interest in the land then they should come and speak to us. We’ve not made any decisions at this stage.”

Scatsta Airport has supported a significant number of jobs in the north mainland of Shetland for many years and losing the oil and gas flights has been a devastating blow to the area. It is thought that as many as 80 jobs are being lost.

Shetland Islands Council became the landowner of Scatsta Airport in 2018 after acquiring the portfolio of property and land from Shetland Leasing and Property Developments (SLAP).

SLAP was the property arm of Shetland Charitable Trust.