MSP highlights HIAL concerns

07 May 2011 MSP pictured in the garden lobby during the MSP registration session. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

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Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie has called on the Scottish Government to ensure Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) is adequately delivering for the remote, rural and island communities it is supposed to serve.

HIAL operates airports in the Highlands and Islands on behalf of Scottish ministers.

Mr Finnie highlighted a number of areas where he said the company is failing in its duties, when he spoke in the Scottish Parliament last Thursday, December 6.

Mr Finnie said Inverness Airport has received a ‘very poor’ environmental compliance rating from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for four years in a row.

He also said air traffic controllers may be about to go on strike over pay and plans to centralise air traffic control operations.

And he added that HIAL had repeatedly failed to consult the remote, rural and island communities it is supposed to serve, on behalf of ministers, on important issues including the introduction of parking charges.

Mr Finnie said: ‘HIAL is wholly owned by Scottish ministers and has a duty to serve communities throughout the Highlands and Islands.

‘It is becoming increasingly clear that the organisation is failing on a number of fronts. Ministers must take responsibility for these failures and commit to urgently improving the service its company provides to my constituents.

‘I gave the cabinet secretary for transport the opportunity to express confidence in HIAL’s management and it won’t be lost on HIAL, and the wider public, that he chose not to endorse its performance.’