Scotland’s new islands minister has insisted he will listen to local concerns when dealing with Shetland’s transport needs following a fleeting trip to the town hall yesterday.
And the minister used his visit to announce a raft of improvements at Sumburgh Airport as part of a second phase of its major redevelopment.
The changes will see the terminal undergo a programme of repairs and refurbishment, with cladding replaced on the fire station and air traffic control building.
Work will also be carried out to upgrade the airport’s apron – the area at the entrance to the terminal.
The improvements come as the airport has marked “unprecedented growth”. Figures show a 96 per cent increase in aircraft movements over the past four years, rising from 7,502 in August 2010 to 14,726 in this year’s corresponding month. Passenger numbers have risen by more than 108 per cent to 304,409 over the same period.
The first phase of development at Sumburgh included the refurbishment of hangars three and four. One has been let to Bristow Helicopters, and another tenant is due to be announced shortly.
Airport operators HIAL have also undertaken a refurbishment of the helicopter arrivals/waiting area and the lounge used in the event of delays.
The cost of the second phase of work is still subject to a tendering process but HIAL’s managing director, Inglis Lyon, welcomed the move and said it would be a “substantial investment”.
• Full story in this week’s Shetland Times.