Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today urged the First Minister to call a halt to HIAL’s air traffic control centralisation. The intervention at First Minister’s Questions today follows publication of a report by Prospect showing the project will cost island economies £18m.
Speaking virtually in the Chamber, Ms Wishart said:
“Last week, Prospect Union published a report that showed that HIAL’s remote tower plan will take at least £18m of economic benefit from island economies, and that costs of the scheme have increased significantly.
“This confirms what HIAL’s own consultants have said, namely that centralising air traffic services in Inverness is the most costly and risky option, HIAL have been hell bent on pursuing it.
“Give the massive downturn in the aviation sector, the high and spiralling costs of centralisation; and the opposition from staff and local communities, will the First Minister now instruct HIAL to call a halt to this damaging project?”
In response the First Minister said “HIAL need to continue to involve their staff and key stakeholders” as the project continues, and that government and HIAL will “continue to listen to views and opinions that are expressed”
Speaking after the exchange, Ms Wishart said:
“It is abundantly clear that HIAL is continuing with this damaging plans despite clear opposition to centralisation across the Highlands and Islands. HIAL and government must do more than listen to views. It must take action to address the staff, industry and community concerns.
“Modernisation is necessary, but remote towers are not. The Scottish Government needs to step up tell HIAL to halt this project so the impact of this risky project can be fully assessed before it’s too late.”