Six airports in Scotland closed for 24 hours due to ATC strike

Six airports in Scotland have closed for 24 hours due to strike action being carried out by air traffic controllers over a pay dispute.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) said the airports at Inverness, Dundee, Benbecula, Stornoway, Sumburgh (pictured above) in Shetland, and Kirkwall in Orkney were shut to air traffic from midnight yesterday (22 May) and will stay closed until midnight today (23 May).

The Prospect union said its members do not want to take industrial action but have been left with no choice after running out of patience with Hial in a dispute it says has been going on for more than a year.

But Hial said its air traffic controllers are well remunerated, and that it has been fully committed to resolving the dispute.

Hial managing director, Inglis Lyon said on Tuesday (21 May):HIAL sincerely regret this escalation of the pay dispute by Prospect members and apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused our customers.

“We continue to work closely with our airlines to mitigate the effects of strike action and I wish to thank them and all our staff who have worked extremely hard to implement contingency measures.

“Throughout this process, HIAL has been fully committed to resolving this dispute. We are disappointed that our efforts to provide possible solutions have been rejected by Prospect and its claim has not altered and remains a wage increase of at least 10 per cent.

“From the outset the union has repeatedly cited pay differentials between our staff and controllers working in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. Air traffic movements make this comparison misleading and unrealistic.

“Furthermore, the evidence from the analysis of air traffic controller pay at non-HIAL airports jointly undertaken by HIAL and Prospect did not support a double-digit wage award. We believe HIAL air traffic controllers are well remunerated and have already accepted a pay increase backdated to April 2018.

“I urge the union to moderate its claim to help us jointly resolve matters.