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“We need to be wary of ill thought out proposals resurfacing in the future.” HIAL’s Discredited Air Traffic Strategy

A note of caution has been voiced over the decision by MSPs to close the petition on HIAL’s Air Traffic Management plans this week. Petition Closed But New Issues Raised: HIAL’s Air Traffic Strategy

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant is concerned about the closing of a petition which asked for an independent review due to the plans being postponed.

Rhoda Grant said:

“The proposals for centralised Air Traffic Control seem to be dead in the water, however officially they have only been postponed and will be reviewed in about 4 to 5 years so we need to be wary of ill thought out proposals resurfacing in the future.

“However at present I am more concerned as I am hearing more and more concerning reports about the planned transfer of Shetland Radar from NATs to HIAL, which is the forerunner to all Highlands and Islands airports becoming covered by Radar.”

The MSP who has been backing the petitioners from the start stressed that she supported the Radar project, which would see Radar trained operatives at each aerodome and would improve safety and standards at HIAL airports, modernising the facilities and service to the Highlands and Islands, but that all plans needed to be implemented according to the highest standards.

She continued:

“Rumours abound that the last two years of training for Radar technicians has had to be thrown out and needs to be re-written, before being re-submitted for approval and then training needs to be started again. The waste of money and time that that suggests is unimaginable, not helped by the disruption for the Technicians’ lives and the lack of organisation and competence that that it speaks to.

“New systems and ways of working are always subject to gremlins, and implementing in such a dispersed geographic area was always likely to be fraught, but reports of the way workers are being treated is concerning.

“Just because our air services are in some of the quieter areas of Scotland does not mean that we shouldn’t expect the highest standards and respect for our workers and services. It’s important that the Radar project is implemented to the best of everyone’s ability to ensure it’s sustainability and success.”