In the Chamber: 6th December – Question on Highlands and Islands Airports

Centralising air traffic control is damaging to both the workers and the local economy.

Surely the technology could be used to provide resilience in HIAL airports, rather than centralising the jobs in Inverness.

If the service can be provided in Inverness for islands such as Benbecula, surely it can be provided in Benbecula for Inverness.

Has the policy of centralising air traffic control been island proofed?

Has an economic impact assessment been done?

Will the cabinet secretary reverse that damaging decision?

Michael Matheson :

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd has to meet the increasingly regulatory nature of air traffic control, and it must look at the challenges that that creates to ensure that it can meet the necessary safety standards at all its airports on our islands and the mainland.
That is why it needs to invest in the right technology to deliver the service within the new regulatory regime that it will face.
The plan is at an early stage and HIAL will continue to engage with all parties with an interest in the matter.
However, as I am sure that the member will recognise, it is important that HIAL’s air traffic control system is safe and fit for purpose and that it meets the needs of the new regulatory regime that is being applied to air traffic control.