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HIAL Air Controllers Overwhelmingly Opposed to Centralisation

A survey of HIAL air traffic controllers conducted by trade union Prospect shows that two years on staff are still overwhelmingly opposed to the remote towers project and centralisation to Inverness. 

The results also show that HIAL staff are not opposed to modernisation.

The decision by HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airways Ltd) to centralise air traffic control to Inverness has produced a wave of objections across the region from both staff,residents and local politicians. Petitions Committee Hears ‘Troubling Evidence Session’ Against HIAL’s Remote Towers

The vast majority of Members have also indicated that they are not prepared to relocate to Inverness regardless of the relocation terms offered. The consequence of this is that unless HIAL changes tack nearly 50 staff will be made redundant with HIAL needing to recruit a similar number in Inverness at very significant expense to the taxpayer.

The survey also shows that members, who are experts within their field of air traffic management, oppose the decision to downgrade both Benbecula and Wick aerodromes, reducing the level of safety provision at those two airports.

Control tower and apron, Benbecula Airport by David Martin

Commenting on the results of the sruvey, David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer, said:

“Prospect members in HIAL are absolutely committed to protecting and serving their local communities. That is why they are opposing this deeply damaging project which will reduce services at two airports, take £2.2 million of direct employment out of local economies and put nearly 50 staff out of a job.”

The survey also showed that there was support for industrial action.

David Amery continued:

“Prospect never undertakes industrial action lightly but members feel they have been left with no choice but to support action to defend their communities.

“Prospect members are currently considering the form of action they might take so as to minimise the impact on local communities particularly during the ongoing pandemic.

“Prospect received an invitation to further talks with HIAL yesterday evening and is considering its response.”

You can view a summary of the survey results here.

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