Some 21 islanders could lose their jobs under radical plans to change the way plane
movements are monitored at airports.
Skilled air traffic controllers at Stornoway and Benbecula airfields would be replaced
by video cameras transmitting landings and take-offs at a central hub perhaps over
100 miles away.
The comhairle has reiterated its concerns to the UK and Scottish governments.
Uisdean Robertson, chairman of the council’s transportation committee warned of the
potential loss of a significant number of high quality well paid jobs in the islands.
Mr Robertson said: “Our understanding is that a total of 17 posts could be lost directly
from our communities which, in as fragile an economy as the Outer Hebrides, would
be a substantial impact.
“A further four posts could be lost through indirect and induced impacts.”
He is also worried about using a centralised monitoring system given the “shortcomings
in the reliability, resilience and security of existing communications infrastructure.”
There may also be implications for QinetiQ’s operations at the MOD Hebrides range
and this has not been explored in Highlands and Islands Airports Limited scoping
study, he added.
Mr Robertson said: “The only response we have so far received is from the Scottish
Government and I find it disappointing that they have not responded more positively
to our concerns in light of the fact that once again, jobs are in danger of being
lost to the islands and transferred to the mainland.
“As we recently highlighted to Cal-Mac, the Islands desperately need work opportunities,
particularly high skilled, high quality jobs which could go a long way to sustaining
the fragile economy of the islands.”
21 island jobs at risk under changes to air traffic control