Business / Strike shuts Sumburgh Airport

Sumburgh Airport is closed today due industrial action by member off the Unite union. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

SUMBURGH Airport is to remain closed today (Monday) as staff go on strike over pay.

The action, which is taking place across the Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) network, is being led by members of the Unite union.

Three of HIAL’s 11 airports – including Sumburgh – are closed today, with a further strike day planned for Thursday (22 December).

Also closed are Barra and Benbecula, while Stornoway and Kirkwall will operate on a limited basis.

The rest of the airports are open as normal.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham previously said: “These workers provide a lifeline, connecting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

“The work they do is vital in maintaining these communities. They should therefore expect and deserve a pay increase that reflects that.”


The last offer from government owned HIAL comprised of a five per cent basic pay award to all staff earning less that £80,000, and a four per cent basic pay award to all staff earning more that £80,000.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon previously said the company “deeply regretted” the strike action and added: “Against the backdrop of unprecedented financial pressures, we presented an enhanced pay offer to colleagues that maximised the flexibility within the Scottish Government’s pay policy, which HIAL is bound by.”

Medical and other emergencies will be serviced from all HIAL airports on both strike days.

Post is flown to Sumburgh every day and with Royal Mail strikes on Friday and Saturday (23/24 December) there is set to be disruption to parcels and letters getting to Shetland in the lead up to Christmas.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


However, it is understood that Royal Mail has contingency plans in place that should minimise the impact on its operations from the airport strikes.

Meanwhile there is a knock-on effect at Tingwall Airport, with operator Airtask saying on Facebook that with Sumburgh closed staff need to use Kirkwall as a diversionary route today.

But Kirkwall Airport is only open until 1pm today due to the strike, limiting the timeframe for flights to and from Tingwall.

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.