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MSP calls for compromise in air traffic control dispute

By Gavin Musgrove

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HIGHLANDS MSP has said that the region has a chance to become a world leader in the application of Air Traffic Control systems by adopting new technologies.

The Scottish Conservative MSP made the comments following his visit to the Air Traffic Control facility at Inverness Airport earlier today.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd are planning to handle air traffic control for seven airports from a single site with the use of new digital technologies.

Under the proposals air traffic controllers would have a panoramic view of the airport in real time, 360-degree views and the ability to zoom in to observe aircraft.

Aircraft will be automatically tracked while they take off or land.

Edward Mountain MSP and James Suddick, Unit Competency Manager, Air Traffic Control, Inverness Airport.
Edward Mountain MSP and James Suddick, Unit Competency Manager, Air Traffic Control, Inverness Airport.

Meanwhile, the industrial dispute between HIAL and the air traffic controllers, represented by Prospect union, has still not been resolved and the current ‘work to rule’ action continues as a result.

Further talks between HIAL and the union are scheduled for Friday.

Mr Mountain MSP has made repeated calls for HIAL and Prospect union to come to a swift compromise to ensure travel disruption is kept to a minimum.

He said: “I was delighted to visit Air Traffic Control at Inverness Airport. Highlands and Islands Airports could become a world leader in Air Traffic Control with the adoption of new technologies.

"I see the emerging technology that is available for future air traffic control operations as an opportunity.

"It could allow for greater flexibility and that should increase capacity at HIAL airports, therefore promoting travel, tourism and business opportunities in the Highlands and Islands.”

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