Talks concerning far-reaching plans by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) to centralise air traffic control services have been held between isles politicians and the Civil Aviation Authority.
The discussions involving Isles MSP Tavish Scott and his Westminster counterpart Alistair Carmichael concerned the suitability of the technology proposed.
In attendance for the CAA was Rob Lewis, manager of Air Traffic Management, and Will Nathan, Parliamentary Liaison Officer.
In a joint statement following the meeting, the Northern Isles representatives said: “We are grateful to the CAA for their time and found the discussion extremely helpful.
“The CAA were able to confirm that Hial’s plans to move to a more centralised system of remote towards across the Highlands and Islands could only proceed with CAA approval.
“This will only happen if Hial manage to satisfy the CAA’s safety requirements.
“On the basis of the proposals published last week, we remain of the view that Hial have their work cut out. The board has chosen the most costly and risky option and has some way to go in demonstrating that the resilience of communications needed between local airports and the remote centre can be achieved or achieved cost-effectively.
“Meantime, the risk is that issues Hial says it has with recruitment and retention of locally based air traffic control staff become more difficult. This is something Hialmust look to address.”