Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Transport / Broadband cable works creates take-off dilemma for pilots

A Loganair ATR aircraft facing the Normand Clipper at the east end of runway 27/09. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

FLIGHTS in and out of Sumburgh are affected by the ongoing work to bring a fibre broadband cable ashore at Grutness – but thanks to the fine weather disruptions have been kept to a minimum so far.

The crew of an Edinburgh-bound Loganair ATR plane had to recalculate its take-off performance on Thursday when it turned out they could not take off into the wind due to the cable laying ship Normand Clipper operating too close to the east of runway 27/09.

Airline boss Jonathan Hinkles said this resulted in a 10 minute delay

“Having taxied out for take-off on a flight to Edinburgh yesterday afternoon, the precise location of the Normand Clipper at that time was such that the crew re-calculated the aircraft’s take-off performance and elected to taxi to the opposite end of the runway to then depart,” he said.

He added that thanks to the “pretty benign” weather over the last couple of dayspilots were able to use runway 27/09 in either direction or use the cross runway 15/33.

“Even though runway 09 was slightly preferable due to light winds, aircraft can still depart with a small tailwind,” he said.

“Beyond that, we have not seen any constraints on our operation, but that is largely because the weather conditions have been fair.

“In different weather conditions – higher winds or reduced visibility – then we could well have seen some considerable constraints had the cable laying gone ahead in those circumstances anyway.  Hopefully it is not something we’ll have to do too often.”

The cable is being laid as part of the Scottish Government’s R100 programme to bring superfast broadband to most in the country.

A specific project to connect some of Scotland’s islands also involves Yell, Unst and Whalsay.

The cable which is running to the southern tip of the Shetland mainland will link to Orkney via Fair Isle.