Essential and lifeline flights in and out of Sumburgh Airport are to continue under strict new measures brought in by Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial) across all its airports.
Hial’s airports will be closed for routine general aviation traffic from Sunday.
The company is currently working with Transport Scotland and Loganair to agree a “skeleton schedule” to ensure Sumburgh Airport continues to provide lifeline and essential services, including NHS passenger transfer, the Royal Mail and the oil and gas industry.
The move follows new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus announced by the UK and Scottish governments on Monday.
Hial’s airports across the country are to “continue their unique role in providing lifeline services for our communities”, the company said, adding that it had been a “difficult but necessary” decision to stop routine flights.
The company said it was important it “does all it can to limit the spread of infection, protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and have the necessary resilience in place to maintain its ability to service essential and emergency flights”.
Contingency plans will be put in place by airport managers to ensure airports continue to operate as required.
Hial managing director Inglis Lyon said: “Our airports are unique in that their core role is to provide lifeline services for our communities in the Highlands and Islands.
“They are essential to the continued delivery of medical and other critical supplies, the transport of key workers and also enable emergency flights for island communities.
“Now more than ever there is a need to safeguard those vital services.
“I appreciate this crisis is unknown territory for all of us and at this time we do not know how long these essential measures will remain in place.
“We could not maintain these services for our communities without the extraordinary team spirit and commitment displayed by our staff right across the Hial group and I am indebted to them for their continued flexibility and dedication during a very difficult time for us all.”