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HIAL Board Reviews Progress at Kirkwall Airport

Progress on developments at Kirkwall Airport were reviewed today (Friday 13 June 2003) by the directors of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited during their June board meeting in Orkney.

Board members toured the airport and met staff during their visit on Thursday prior to their formal meeting today. Airport staff members were also praised for their performance over the past year that saw passenger numbers at the airport increase by 15% to 111,445 for year ending 31 March 2003.

The progress on the installation of the airport’s new Instrument Landing System (ILS) and construction of a separate Airport Fire Service base formed key elements of the Board’s itinerary.

Speaking after the board meeting, Sandy Matheson, chairman of Highlands and Islands Airports Limited said: “Our policy of holding board meetings at our 10 airports provides us with valuable opportunities to meet with staff and see at first-hand the wide range of work being carried out within the company. It also enables us to meet with stakeholders in the public and private sectors at a time when partnership working is of increasing importance to the development of the company and the provision of services to our customers, both the communities we serve and the airlines.

“In the past year Kirkwall has recorded impressive passenger growth of 15% and as one of our principal air hubs we forecast further growth for the airport in the years ahead. During the year the extension of Sunday opening hours to a full day allowed the introduction of scheduled services to and from Sumburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen, North Ronaldsay and Papa Westray. This improvement in connectivity has had a positive impact on passenger numbers to date.

“Work on ILS is also progressing well and we are on target to bring the system on line by the end of 2003 resulting in improved service for the local community and airlines. The importance of this project is reflected in the partnership funding provided by the Public Transport Fund via Orkney Islands Council and from Orkney Enterprise.

“Kirkwall Airport fulfils a fundamental social and economic role within the Orkney Islands and the local community can rest assured that its ongoing development, with resultant benefits for the social and economic fabric of the islands, is an important goal in our strategic plans,” added Mr Matheson.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited manages and operates 10 airports in the North and West of Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Executive at: Barra; Benbecula; Campbeltown; Inverness; Islay; Kirkwall; Stornoway; Sumburgh; Tiree and Wick.

The company handles an annual budget of almost Ł30 million and is responsible for providing airport infrastructure, facilitating lifeline air links and promoting economic sustainability and social inclusion in Scotland’s remoter regions.

In year ending 31 March 2003 the company’s 10 airports handled more than 864,000 passengers and over 76,000 aircraft movements.

For further information see the www.hial.co.uk  website.