Councillors Call For Meeting With CAA Over Scilly’s Airport Costs

airport terminal frontCouncillors have called for a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority after receiving “conflicting information” from officers involved with the airport.

At Tuesday’s Transport Committee meeting, Chief Fire Officer Steve Webster told members that the additional staff costs for flying 7 days a week would be £83,000.

That figure includes £22,000 for baggage handlers and £9,000 for air traffic Assistants.

But it was the estimated £54,000 for a fifth air traffic controller that seemed to worry councillors.

Steve told them that this would be needed because staff would be over their permitted working time, which included being on call for out-of-hours medical emergencies.

He said this was something the Council had requested.

Cllr James Francis asked if the staff needed to be employed on the same terms and conditions as other Council staff. The airport is, after all, he said, run as a separate business.

And Cllr Richard McCarthy queried why air traffic control staff at Land’s End could work 50 hours while ours only worked 37 hours.

Steve didn’t rule out changing those terms, adding that it was a strategic decision to be made by the Authority.

The current policy is to employ them on standard Council terms and James called for that to be reviewed.

But Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith seemed irritated by the advice he was being given.

He said in all the time he’s been on the Council, he’s heard lots about what the CAA will and won’t do, but never had a proper understanding of it.

He said they always had to rely on third party advice.

He wants a face-to-face meeting with the CAA to explain to them the problems faced by our airport.

Council Chair Amanda Martin agreed, because there’s “so much conflicting information.” She wants the meeting as quickly as possible.

Mr Webster says he’s identified the costs for extending the operations to 7 days. It’s now up to members to decide what to do next, and what savings or compromises need to be made to make it achievable.

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