Monday 15 April 2024
 6.4°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / HIAL-Prospect deal to undergo further scrutiny

The citizen participation and public petitions committee on Wednesday morning.

FURTHER evidence will be heard by the Scottish Parliament’s petitions committee after doubts were voiced about the motives behind Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd cancelling plans to centralise air traffic control services at Inverness.

The committee met on Wednesday morning and agreed to again invite representatives from HIAL and trade union Prospect.

Meeting after both HIAL and Prospect announced last week that agreement had been reached on an alternative way forward regarding the future of air traffic control, committee members remained sceptical.

Over recent days the organisers of the original petition, lodged in 2020, urged the committee to continue scrutinising HIAL’s Air Traffic Management Strategy (ATMS) after raising concern over the timescale of the changes, the £9 million already spent, the implementation of surveillance radar and controlled air space.

The committee will now also write to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and airport users such as Loganair to hear what they make of the changes to HIAL’s ATMS project.

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said local people certainly had raised doubts as to HIAL’s commitment and had expressed some “deep anxiety” as to whether local jobs had been saved long-term.

“While the immediate threat of job losses has been lifted, recent announcements by HIAL have given rise to more questions than answers,” he said after the meeting.

“No-one disputes the need to modernise air traffic services, but having insisted that centralisation was the only viable option, it’s not now clear what HIAL’s strategy is. Even the CAA has called into question some of the assumptions being made by HIAL about what might be feasible.

“Meanwhile, HIAL has managed to spend millions of pounds of public money on a project that was doomed from the outset.  This includes the purchase of a building in Inverness for £3.6m that is now surplus to requirements.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“Hopefully the committee can get to the bottom of how things have been allowed to go so badly wrong.  HIAL also needs to remove any possibility of the remote tower proposals making a reappearance in future.

His comments were echoed by Labour’s Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant who also raised concern over the status of the Wick and Benbecula airports, and called on HIAL to focus on local recruitment to fill vacant posts in air traffic control.

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 600 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.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.