Highlands and Islands Airport Ltd (Air Traffic Control)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 9th September 2021.

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The First Minister:

When it comes to the jobs, the issues around relocation are important, and those were what I was alluding to. It is important that HIAL engages with the unions and with workers in considering the policies in place that allow workers who are working under the new system nevertheless to continue to live in and contribute to our islands. That will not always be easy, but that is the work that we are expecting HIAL to engage in properly.

On some of the other concerns, safety issues have been raised with me directly, for example in Shetland. Those issues must be taken seriously. Loganair, the main airline flying in the Highlands and Islands, which is already operating under the system at London City, is supportive of the changes and the safety benefits that it says will be delivered. New air-traffic control procedures and the operation of such a centre will go live only following a rigorous assessment and approval by the Civil Aviation Authority.

I understand the concerns that are being raised—it is important to say that. There is a responsibility on HIAL and indeed on the Scottish Government to seek to address those concerns as we move forward.