Remotely Managed Air Traffic Control

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons on 21st March 2019.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

What discussions he has had with stakeholders in the aviation industry on remotely managed air traffic control.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

Trains to planes, Mr Speaker. The Aviation Minister has held discussions on remote air traffic control tower operations with several organisations, including the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS, operators of airports such as Cranfield, Highlands and Islands Airports, and the Western Isles Council.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Highlands and Islands Airports and the Scottish Transport Minister seem determined to drive the centralisation of air traffic control across the highlands and islands, despite the legitimate safety concerns expressed by its staff and socioeconomic concerns expressed by communities across the region. If they are not going to listen to us, will the Secretary of State ensure that the CAA certainly does when it comes to the sign-off of any scheme?

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

I know well the team that runs the CAA, and I can give the right hon. Gentleman an undertaking that they would not sign off anything that they believed was unsafe.