High­land MSP quizzes Hial over drone re­silience

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY CHRIS MACLENNAN

A High­land MSP is seek­ing in­for­ma­tion from the north’s busiest air­port re­lat­ing to any po­ten­tial drone is­sues.

Jamie Hal­cro-John­ston wants to know High­lands and Is­lands Air­ports’ (Hial) pro­to­cols, and if any drones have been recorded en­ter­ing their air space.

It comes af­ter flights were grounded at Lon­don Gatwick and Heathrow in re­cent weeks.

At Gatwick, 837 flights ex­pe­ri­enced dis­rup­tion and de­lay over a 36-hour pe­riod, af­fect­ing more than 130,000 trav­ellers head­ing home for Christ­mas.

Mr Hal­cro-John­ston has also ques­tioned how air­craft safety can be pri­ori­tised un­der Hial’s plans to cen­tralise air traf­fic ser­vices in In­ver­ness, us­ing re­mote tow­ers in other air­ports.

He said: “The re­cent de­lays caused by drone sight­ings at Gatwick and Heathrow have caused sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion to thou­sands of pas­sen­gers.

“It was con­cern­ing to see that such eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble tech­nol­ogy can cause such an enor­mous im­pact.

“It is, of course, right that air­ports take an ap­proach where the safety of pas­sen­gers is para­mount.”

Pas­sen­gers at Gatwick Air­port af­ter drone sight­ings grounded planes in De­cem­ber

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