Airport operators can press on with damages claim

The operators of Sumburgh Airport have been cleared to go ahead with a damages claim running to over £14 million.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd – which is a Scottish Government Company – is suing Shetland Islands Council.

The two sides agreed a contract in 2005 for the local authority to provide engineering works and other services for a runway extension.

The airport operators accuse the council of not carrying out the agreed work properly – leaving them to foot the bill for bringing in others to complete the project.

A legal dispute arose because the airport operator raised the action in November 2011 asking a judge to declare that the council were in breach of contract.

Only later did they try to put a figure of £14,210,000 on their loss.

The local authority claimed that fell outside the time limit which the law imposes on damages claims.

The airport operator said because they first came to court in time – even though they were unable to put a figure on damages at the end of 2011 – the case should go ahead.

On Tuesday, sitting at the Court of Session, Edinburgh, judge Lady Scott ruled in favour of HIAL.

Further hearings to decide the final outcome are expected at a later date, which is still to be fixed.

• More to follow, in this week’s Shetland Times

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