Budget cut hits traffic control plan for Highlands and Islands airports

Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) has confirmed that it will not proceed with parts of an air traffic modernization plan following a budget cut by Transport Scotland.

The move comes after a wider spending review by the Scottish Government in May and will see Hi “reduce” his project.

Air traffic control tower.

Hial had previously attempted to set up a ‘remote towers’ scheme, which would have centralized air traffic operations to Inverness.

But union pressure scuttled the idea, meaning jobs were kept at the onsite air traffic control towers.

The airport operator was due to develop an alternative arrangement, but Scottish Government budget cuts mean this has now been scaled back.

Existing cooperation with national air traffic services will continue.

Hial’s management team presented a paper to the board at a meeting on August 24 highlighting the impact of a “significant gap” between available funding and the company’s operational and strategic plans, including its air traffic modernization proposals.

Difficult decisions based on extraordinary circumstances.

Lorna Jack, President, Highlands and Islands Airports.

Hial President Lorna Jack said, “Our primary goal is to provide safe, reliable and sustainable aviation services to the communities we serve.

“Like many other businesses, Hial must re-evaluate its spending priorities and options, and make difficult decisions based on the extraordinary circumstances we all face, as global economic pressures impact our day-to-day operations and future plans. .

“The board is considering several options to help address the current budgetary situation and has decided that one of them would be to scale back air traffic modernization plans for the duration of the strategic spending review. This aligns with the five-year review agreed with unions in January.

Airplane landing at Barra airport.
Hial operates some of the most remote airports in the UK, including Barra.

“The Hial board remains in dialogue with Transport Scotland regarding the funding cut and its effect on frontline service delivery.”

A Transport Scotland The spokesman said: ‘The UK is set to head into its worst recession in over a decade which means families, businesses and governments face tough financial choices.

“The Scottish Government has a limited budget and therefore needs to focus its resources where they will make the biggest difference to people across Scotland.

“We remain committed to supporting Hial in adapting its priorities, while maintaining a safe and sustainable airport network.”

Hial operates 11 airports including Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick John O’Groats.

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[Budget cut hits Highlands and Islands Airports’ traffic control plan]

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