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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-20722: Jamie Halcro Johnston (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 19 December 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how Highland and Islands Airports Limited’s plans to centralise air traffic control (ATC) towers could impact on (a) safety, (b) the resilience of ATC services, (c) employment and (d) the economies of the communities near the airports.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 10 January 2019

HIAL’s Air Traffic Management 2030 Strategy aims to ensure that air services can continue to operate in the future in a safe and efficient way. The Air Traffic Management project will improve upon safety margins by introducing controlled airspace and centralised surveillance over the airspace which HIAL currently manages. The project will improve resilience in a number of areas, including the supply of air traffic management training, recruitment, connectivity and overall levels of redundancy in the system, not currently available. Current employment levels within HIAL will be maintained with better career development and progression prospects for staff. If HIAL do nothing then, in the longer term, air services will be compromised as reliable Air Traffic Control cover would no longer be able to be provided. The long term prospects of the economies of the communities that HIAL’s airports serve will be improved through ensuring that commercial air services will be able to continue operating in the future.