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Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has appointed Margaret MacRae as its new airport fire and operations manager at Kirkwall airport in Orkney.

The island location is nothing new to Margaret, known as Mags, who is originally from Benbecula and has worked at Kirkwall for 18 years.

At Kirkwall, Mags is responsible for a crew of 21 from the airport fire service and three from the mechanical transport department.

Her responsibility will be the compliance of the service and ensuring the regulator, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), is satisfied that everything is running as it should be. 

The fire service at the airport has to be dynamic and flexible, since their responsibilities cover everything from winter operations to water beach rescues, with regular interaction with the seafaring community too. 

Mags said: “There are so many exciting things happening at the airport including the training facility we have here in Kirkwall.  We offer fire prevention and fire-fighting courses, which are a mandatory minimum requirement for all seafarers. 

“With HIAL providing these courses, it means locals no longer need to go off island to gain the valuable qualifications.  The marine courses have been offered for several years and it's an element of the day-to-day job that has become the norm and the programme is going from strength to strength. 

“Everyone that I have worked with at HIAL has encouraged and supported my development.  I’m especially thankful to the team at Kirkwall as they have taught me so much over the years and I still continue to watch, listen and learn from them."  

George Farquhar, Director of Airport Operations said: “I’ve worked with Mags since she joined HIAL and it’s been such a positive experience to see her progress her career in the organisation.  The knowledge and understanding that Mags has gained of the HIAL network will be invaluable to her in her new role at Kirkwall.”

Photograph by Neil Thain.