There are no plans to close the Stornoway airport control tower, it was stated today. 

Reports had suggested that HIAL were considering centralisation of Air Traffic Control by relocating the operation to a 'virtual tower' on the mainland.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, spoke with Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Limited, and says he gave assurances that there were no plans to close the Stornoway tower. 

Mrs Grant said: “I was extremely concerned at reports that the Air Traffic Control function on the islands may be centralised in Inverness. I had been contacted by constituents worried about their jobs and concerned about safety if these plans were a reality so I arranged to speak with HIAL immediately”

Remote Tower Services (RTS) technology has been pioneered by the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration and SAAB following ten years of development, and is being evaluated by Airport Authorities on a wide scale.

Mrs Grant said: “I fully understand that new technologies should be investigated to understand the benefits that they possess and that is what HIAL seem to be doing at this moment. There is a consultant currently carrying out a review for HIAL with details expected in October."

The MSP added: "I was given assurances that there were no plans to close any of the Island Control Towers and given this technology requires to be thoroughly proven to be safe and resilient, it is also reliant on an extremely high speed broadband platform which we do not have, so there are certainly more questions at the moment than answers."