Carmichael seeks ‘proper reply’ from government over aviation concerns

MP Alistair Carmichael raised local concerns about the centralisation of air traffic control services with the aviation minister Robert Courts this week.

Mr Carmichael said the availability of “reliable” air services would be crucial to getting the isles economy back up and running post-Covid.

“Aviation is critical, both within the islands to shift doctors, vets and teachers around the smaller island groups, and between the islands and mainland communities. For our businesses and communities, that connectivity is absolutely critical.

“The Scottish Government, through Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, continue to insist on the removal of air traffic control officers from airports throughout the Highlands and Islands, to centralise them all in Inverness.

“The service is not just good but reliable, so that should be put on the back burner for the foreseeable future.”

But Mr Carmichael said Mr Courts gave “little” in the way of response, and he would be following the matter up with him.


Add Your Comment
  • Mark Lansbury

    • November 22nd, 2020 23:00

    As a retired airline pilot the thought of shooting an approach in poor weather with the (tower) controller hundreds of miles away looking at large screens with views of the airport is unsettling.

    I’m unable to count the number of times when a person in the tower with local observations combined with local knowledge & experience has been vital to a safe landing.

    Even if the data links between the airport and control bunker hundreds of miles away never failed, the services will be at a standard well below what is available by an experienced local controller.

    Technology can be beneficial in appropriate circumstances. Technology is usually made to look good on paper. It’s rare I’ve ever seen any complex project account for every possibility.

    I find this cavalier attitude to passenger safety disturbing.

    There is a moral responsibility for the safety of human passengers. In my decades flying I’ve seen first hand the reality that safety costs time and money. It’s that simple. One can short change either but, in time, the payment comes in the loss of human lives.


Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.