MSP Wishart says air traffic control proposals would be ‘devastating’ for island communities

A Shetland MSP has raised fresh criticisms over plans to centralise air traffic control services.

Beatrice Wishart, commenting on a report commissioned by Prospect Union, showed Hial’s proposals for remote control towers would be “devastating” for communities. 

The report, published on Friday, claims Hial’s plan would take at least £18m of economic benefit from island communities and that the costs of the scheme had increased significantly.

“Hial has been intent on pursuing this strategy from the outset, despite its own consultants identifying the remote tower model as the most costly and risky option,” Ms Wishart said. 

“This report is another reminder to ministers of the serious risks involved. Risks that HIAL staff and aviation experts have been highlighting from the outset.

MS Wishart called on the project to be “paused and reassessed” so that all options could be fully explored through dialogue with staff, the wider industry and communities. 

Responding to the report, Hial said remote towers are the “only option that offers long-term solutions in terms of resilience and flexibility”.


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