Scatsta Airport is likely to cut its staff by at least 25 per cent by the end of the year due to the offshore industry reducing its North Sea operations following last year’s fall in oil price.
Airport operators Serco confirmed they have begun a consultation with its workforce at Scatsta and blamed the move on a “reduction in offshore activity” as a result of a “declining oil price”.
Any cuts are likely to be achieved by making some of the 107 staff redundant and moving others into different roles.
The move comes after Bristow Helicopters announced it was going to cut 130 jobs in Shetland and Aberdeen, and was in consultation with staff.
In the past 20 years Scatsta has seen a rapid growth in traffic due to the increase in offshore activity, notably in the East Shetland Basin.
The airport was refurbished around five years ago with a new terminal, control tower, hangar and navigational aids.
But there have been job losses since the fall in the oil price, and fewer flights due to a change in shift patterns, changing from two weeks on and three weeks off to three weeks on and three weeks off.
Additionally, Shell, Petrofac and Inquest are due to stop flying offshore workers in helicopters from Shetland later this year and will no longer use the airport. However, BP is still committed to using Scatsta.
Staff members are being asked to take voluntary redundancy wherever possible. Some are being redeployed in the airport or in other Serco workplaces, and some are being retrained in other roles.
Local councillor and SIC development committee chairman Alastair Cooper said there was an impression that the Shetland economy was buoyant, but the bubble would burst and he was concerned for local folk who work at Scatsta. He said he had heard, although not officially, that between 25 and 30 jobs would be lost at Scatsta.
He said: “It will be a serious loss to the community, they’re all local well paid jobs. There’s a feelgood factor in Shetland at the moment, but I suspect by Christmas there will be a number of pay-offs once Petrofac finishes at Shetland Gas Plant.”