HIAL urges mediation over Sumburgh runway dispute
The operator of Sumburgh Airport has called for mediation to take place on its continuting dispute with Shetland Islands Council over runway repair costs.
Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) was recently granted a full hearing on its claim for damages against the SIC, following a decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session.
However, HIAL is now urging the local authority to enter into mediation in a bid to resolve the ongoing dispute, brought about costs involved in solving the airport’s problematic east-west runway.
Work to repair the runway, which has suffered problems at both ends which were lengthened on land reclaimed from the sea, has cost £14 million and is due to be completed this month.
HIAL said it had sought to recover the cost of repairs from the council, which it originally contracted to provide engineering works and services for a runway extension project in 2005.
The company now wants to enter into a process of independent mediation in order to bring the matter to a close and avoid further lengthy and costly litigation.
HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said he was still waiting for a reply after writing to SIC chief executive Mark Boden over the issue.
Mr Lyon said: “Some weeks ago I wrote to the chief executive of Shetland Islands Council to invite the local authority to enter into mediation with HIAL in order to resolve this matter once and for all.
“I have not yet received a response from the chief executive but I would again reiterate my willingness to engage in an independent mediation process. I believe this can realistically be concluded before the end of this year.
“I would urge Shetland Islands Council to consider this approach in the interests of local taxpayers. The alternative is the continuation of a lengthy and costly litigation process which serves the interests of neither party.”
• More in next Friday’s Shetland Times.