News / ‘Challenging decisions’ ahead for HIAL amid budget pressures

Meanwhile a second day of strike action has closed Sumburgh Airport again today

Sumburgh Airport. Photo © Mike Pennington (cc-by-sa/2.0)

HIGHLANDS and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) may have to make some “challenging decisions” after the draft Scottish budget revealed a proposed drop in annual funding for the organisation.

It comes as Unite union members working for HIAL undertake stage a second strike today (Thursday) in a dispute over pay.

The government owned company – which operates Sumburgh Airport – has been given an indicative budget of £69 million for 2023/24. This is a decrease from £71.3 million awarded for the current year.

HIAL has already dropped plans to revamp air traffic control services citing budget pressures, while the charges it places on users of its 11 airports have increased twice this year.

Speaking in response to the draft budget, a spokesperson for HIAL said its board and executive team continually review the impact of budget availability on the business.

“Like many other businesses, HIAL must maximise income opportunities, reappraise priorities and spending options and make challenging decisions based on the extraordinary external financial pressures which are impacting our day-to-day activities, and our future plans,” they told Shetland News.

“The discussions on the Scottish Government’s draft budget decisions are ongoing and the outcomes of the proposed budget against our strategic priorities are currently being reviewed.”

Sumburgh was one of three HIAL airports shut on Monday as workers went on a strike, with a second place now taking place.

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