A day of strike action affecting Highlands and Islands Airports was confirmed yesterday (Thursday May 9th), following the breakdown of talks between HIAL and the air traffic controllers’ union Prospect.

And the union says strikes will be repeated "throughout the summer" unless the Scottish Government intervenes. 

The all-out strike on Thursday May 23rd means Stornoway and Benbecula airports will be closed on that day, as will other airports including Inverness.

There will be no flights between Stornoway and Benbecula, Edinburgh, Glasgow or Inverness on that day.

Loganair has reacted by making changes to its timetable, adding some extra flights on 22ndand 24thMay to help customers unable to travel on 23rdMay to rearrange their travel itineraries.

An extra flight at 7.30pm on Wednesday May 22ndwill carry up to 33 passengers between Stornoway and Inverness.

There are no additional flights for Stornoway on Friday May 24th, and the scheduled service between Glasgow and Benbecula will be operated by a larger, 49-seat Embraer jet aircraft.

Loganair has today (Friday May 10th) issued a statement confirming: “If you are booked to travel on May 23rd, we are offering the option to change your travel plans (including any associated outward or return journey) to move to any available flight on the same or equivalent route between Monday 20thMay and Monday 27thMay.  There will be no charge payable (i.e. the usual change fees plus any difference in fare will be waived for all ticket types).

"If your journey involves a connection with another airline, we, unfortunately, cannot guarantee that other airlines will offer the same flexibility to change tickets. 

"We recommend that customers check with the second airline around their onward travel.  Alternatively, if you elect not to travel, you can request a refund may be taken for any journey or part of a journey not used.

In a statement from the Prospect union published yesterday (Thursday May 9th) negotiations officer David Avery said: “Members have run out of patience with HIAL.

"Talks have been ongoing for more than a year to seek to resolve this dispute but to no avail.

"Prospect agreed to withdraw our strike action in April to allow further talks to take place and members trusted that HIAL would use that time to bring forward proposals to resolve the dispute - HIAL have abused that trust.

“Members do not want to take industrial action but have been left with no choice. If they want to prevent disruption across the Highlands on 23rdMay and throughout the summer, then Scottish Ministers need to intervene.” 

HIAL has said as a public organisation it is bound by the Scottish Government pay policy and “simply cannot implement pay awards that greatly exceed the policy”.

Managing director Inglis Lyon said: “We are bitterly disappointed talks have not delivered a resolution. The union continues to insist on a double-digit wage increase that greatly exceeds government pay policy.

“In addition, the evidence provided in the analysis of air traffic controller pay at non-HIAL airports that Prospect jointly undertook with HIAL does not support a double-digit pay award.

“We are progressing on the assumption strike action will go ahead. We will work closely with our airlines to minimise potential disruption wherever possible.”