MSP Tavish Scott has invited the chairman of Highland & Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) to Shetland as the company considers imposing parking charges at Sumburgh Airport.
In a letter to Grenville Johnston, Mr Scott noted that HIAL chief executive Inglis Lyon had confirmed that any decision on the issue would be made by the HIAL board.
Reiterating his opposition to charges, the MSP told Mr Johnston: “Along with everyone from Shetland who has contacted me on this issue, I remain resolutely opposed to car parking charges being imposed at Sumburgh.
“So I would urge you to instruct your management team to drop the proposal now, before any more time is wasted on it. But if you are not prepared to do that, as a bare minimum, you need to come to Shetland to meet me and representatives of the council, the health board and the travelling public before any decision is made by the board.
“That way, when the board has to make its decision, you will have a proper understanding of the Shetland concerns about this threat to add still more to the cost of flying on our lifeline air services.”
Mr Scott said the reason behind the planned introduction of parking charges had been given as the cut of over £1 million which the Scottish government had made to HIAL funding for next year.
He continued: “I appreciate the challenge that this will create for HIAL but I would have hoped that it would be met by looking at how your operating costs can be cut, rather than by passing the funding cut on to passengers by such means as imposing car parking charges. This is an issue which, I am sure, could be discussed when you come north.”