Westminster debate on Civil Aviation Authority to be heard this week

MPs are this week due to debate proposals to centralise air traffic control services.

It comes after Isles MP Alistair Carmichael announced he would lead parliamentary discussions on the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

On Monday it emerged Shetland Islands Council was joining the other island group authorities in Orkney and the Western Isles to oppose the air traffic control proposals.

Mr Carmichael said the debate was an opportunity to raise important issues surrounding aviation safety in the Northern Isles.

It comes in the wake of an incident at Kirkwall Airport last year, in which a flight took off without air traffic control support, as well as the proposal by Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) to centralise air traffic control to Inverness.

Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mr Carmichael said: “I am glad that we have secured this debate, on a topic that is crucial to our communities in the isles. Air services are lifeline services. Local people deserve reassurance that these flights are safe.

“I have voiced my concerns before about the transparency of the CAA’s reporting into the incident at Kirkwall Airport last year. I hope that this will be the start of renewed attention on the CAA’s efforts. Transparency is the foundation of our trust in aviation safety.

“That transparency must also be practised by Hial. Their repeated assertion that their centralisation of air traffic control in Inverness has not properly addressed the professional objections that have been raised against it.”


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