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Highlands and Islands Airports Limited announces Inverness location of central surveillance centre as it moves to next phase of air traffic management project

By Andrew Dixon

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has announced the latest phase of its air traffic management programme aimed at ensuring the long-term sustainability of its operations in Scotland.

The airport operator has identified New Century House – base of Highland News and Media Group – as the location for a new Combined Surveillance Centre which will be the central hub at the heart of its air traffic management project.

It is expected the purchase of the Inverness building will be concluded shortly.

The premises will require a complete refit to ensure it delivers the requirements for the air traffic management system programme.

The system, first announced in January 2018, will change the way air traffic services are provided at seven HIAL airports by running activities in a centralised tower and surveillance centre and modernising the way airspace is managed.

The project is the largest of its kind within UK air traffic control.

It will bring together air traffic management at five airports into a single location including HIAL airports at Sumburgh, Dundee, Inverness, Kirkwall and Stornoway. There are no planned reductions in staff numbers as a result of the project.

The implementation and delivery of the remote tower and surveillance centre is the largest and most complex project HIAL has ever undertaken.

At Benbecula and Wick John O’Groats, HIAL will revise the level of air traffic service from an air traffic control service to an aerodrome flight information service, similar to that used at its airports at Campeltown, Islay, Tiree and Barra.

HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon said: “The acquisition of a base for the new Combined Surveillance Centre marks a significant next step in the project.

“It will allow us to move forward with planning and procurement of the relevant systems to safely deliver a state-of-the-art air traffic control management system and give additional clarity to colleagues and stakeholders as we deliver this complex and challenging programme.

“Our focus continues to be on aviation service delivery and providing a safe, modern and efficient means of handling aircraft for the regions and the islands in the future.”

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