HIAL sets out future direction for Air Traffic Management Strategy

The HIAL Board met on 24 January to discuss the future direction for its air traffic management strategy (ATMS).

The Board was provided with a summary of the outputs from several working groups which took place with ATC colleagues and informed proposals for alternative delivery options.

Following extensive discussion, the Board agreed the future strategic direction for the ATMS programme. This will comprise a centralised surveillance operation for Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Inverness, and Dundee airports, based at our existing approach radar facility on the Inverness Airport Site.  Air traffic tower services will continue to be provided locally at each of these airports.

The decision will now allow Prospect to ballot its members on the acceptance of the revised proposal.

Given the positive feedback from Prospect on the working groups as part of this process, the Board agreed that a further working group should be established to discuss the future service delivery options for Benbecula and Wick John O’Groats airports.

The output of this group will be presented at a future meeting of the HIAL Board to inform the strategic direction for these airports. 

Lorna Jack, HIAL’s Chair said: “We’ve listened to the feedback from our colleagues and island communities in reaching our decision.  This alternative delivery of the ATMS programme will provide enhanced safety and resilience to our operations and retain air traffic controllers on the islands.

“While this sets the future strategic direction for the programme, the Board recognises that further detailed work will be required with colleagues before a comprehensive business case can be presented to Transport Scotland.  This will include a review of our island impact assessment.”

Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of HIAL said: “We were pleased to note the encouraging feedback from Prospect on the constructive working relations that have been developed through the staff working groups.

“We look forward to continuing this positive approach with Prospect and our colleagues as we move into the next phase of detailed operational design.

“We hope the Board’s decision will enable the current industrial action to be brought to a conclusion and allow us to move forward together to deliver our fundamental aim – a modern, sustainable air traffic service for the Highlands and Islands.”

Published: 27th January 2022