‘Minor Changes’ Expected To Flights As Air Traffic Restrictions Begin At Airport

airport terminal frontSkybus has said they’re working with the Council to minimise any flight disruption in the coming weeks, due to a shortage of air traffic controllers at St Mary’s airport.

Last weekend, NATS, the organisation that provides information to pilots, published a list of dates when there would be restricted services at the Council-run facility.

They’re advising that air traffic control will be unavailable for up to 90 minutes per day on the majority of flying dates up to the 29th May.

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith said plans are still being developed, but it’s hoped that there will be only minor changes to the overall flying programme, without the need to cancel any flights.

The CAA placed the airport under ‘special attention’ in November, when they became aware of staff concerns over the internal restructuring of the airport’s operations.

A number of ATC personnel have since left.

Last week, Council Chief Executive Theo Leisjer said staff with the skills required to work at the islands’ airport are “like gold dust.” Airport management are addressing the shortage by attempting to train locals, although that will take some time.

They expect a replacement controller to be in place within four to six weeks and schedules beyond the 29th May are being agreed with Skybus.

The Council says they believe that the management has handled the situation appropriately.