Smith warns that threatened action by airport workers could impact on isles service

Calls have been made for Shetland’s “lifeline” air-links to the UK mainland to be safeguarded in the face of threatened strike action by BAA workers down south.

Head of the Sumburgh Airport Consultative Committee, Jimmy Smith, warned councillors and transport officials at Monday’s ZetTrans meeting that services could be at risk from the growing industrial unrest among Unite members employed at the country’s main airports.

His warning came as high-level talks were due to begin in an attempt to avert the strike from taking place after security staff, engineers and firefighters voted against a 1.5 per cent pay offer.

Three of Scotland’s biggest airports – Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow – operate under BAA. Mr Smith said smaller, non-BAA airports, such as Inverness, Dundee and Prestwick could be available for Shetland flights if the industrial action goes ahead.

However, he said larger flights coming from Gatwick, for example, would prove more attractive for some of the smaller Scottish airports, leaving Sumburgh flights at risk of being left out in the cold.

Mr Smith called for ZetTrans to write to Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) and other airports to put forward the case for Shetland.

“It’s possible airports would rather bring a 737 from Gatwick than a Saab from Sumburgh,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to see us lose slots. What I want to do is safeguard our lifeline flights from here so that passengers can get away.”


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.