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HIAL apologise ahead of airport disruption

Kirkwall Airport control tower.

The managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd. (HIAL) has apologised for the disruption a further round of strike action will cause at several airports, including Kirkwall.

Inglis Lyon has urged Prospect, the union representing air traffic controllers (ATC) to get back round the table and help deliver a solution to its long-running pay dispute. Mr Lyon said HIAL is fully prepared for three days of industrial action, which will see six of its airports closed due to strike action by air traffic controllers.

Kirkwall Airport will be shut to all traffic next Monday, July 22.

The strikes were called following the rejection of HIAL’s latest offer on July 4. The offer rejected by Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) comprised a retention allowance that would have seen ATCOs benefit from an additional £10,000 over a five-year period.

Prospect presented a counter offer that significantly exceeds the flexibility and affordability of a publicly owned organisation.

HIAL says that, throughout this process, it has been committed to resolving this dispute and has submitted a number of proposals that have been rejected outright by the union.

Inglis Lyon, HIAL’s Managing Director said: “We deeply regret the inconvenience and upset to hundreds of passengers affected by the strike action.  We wish to find a resolution to this dispute as soon as possible and would urge Prospect to sit down with us once again to find some common ground on which we can arrive at a negotiated settlement.

“Our position has been consistent throughout. We can only deliver an affordable settlement within the terms of Public Sector Pay Policy. So far Prospect has continued to ask for a pay increase far in excess of what we are able to afford and that unfortunately remains the situation.

“We remain committed to resolving the dispute. Our latest offer of a retention allowance of £10,000 over a five year period remains on the table and will continue to explore potential solutions within our affordability.”

“The continued industrial action is having a significant impact on our passengers, communities and the airlines operating from our airports. We would encourage Prospect to revisit the offer and bring this dispute to an end.”

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