Shetland's airports (and parking)
Posted 25 July 2006 - 11:46 AM
Despite telling us 20 minutes into the flight we were diverting - they omitted to tell anyone waiting at Sumburgh to meet the plane that this was what wis happening! They were only told after we landed at Scatsta!
To be fair to Loganair, they did lay on a bus. Couldna believe it when the driver said he was going straight to Sumburgh and not via Lerwick! Common sense was eventually seen though.
There was a group worried about the mini bus they had hired to pick them up from Sumburgh. As both the bus meeting the flight and their minibus were from Leasks, they were assured that there wouldn't be a problem and they were to just get on the big bus to Lerwick. You can probably guess by now that the minibus turned up 5 minutes after they set off. Hilarous organisation!
Scatsta isn't the best airport for dealing with commercial passengers. It's basically a transit airport for oil workers. There's no baggage reclaim (pick up collected luggage from the plane, drove it round to the car park where you had to recover it yourself). The staff at Scatsta are also employed by Serco who have nothing to do with Loganair...hats off to them though they did a good job in trying circumstances. At the end of the day though.....I think everyone would rather land at Scatsta than have the uncertainty of Sumburgh hanging over their heads!
Posted 01 December 2006 - 09:15 AM
Does this mean that the council is willing to pay the current operators of the airport to provide cover at the weekends when the airport is shut due its workload being completed, or is this the first move of the council moving in to operate the airport if the current oil work transfers to Aberdeen or Sumburgh?
If it is, was it not a bit remiss of them to invest money in the runway extension at Sumburgh, would they not have been better investing money in Scatsta? or did they see that to bring Scatsta up to the same standard as Sumburgh was going to cost them as the ultimate owners of the airfield a lot more than their contribution to the extension at Sumburgh.
It is a good thing for the flying public that there are two airports in Shetland that can cope with Saab 340's but unfortunatley Scatsta isnt as good as an airport as the council would have the public believe and to make it so is going to take a tremendous amount of investment, if it was an easy or inexpensive thing to do why hav'nt they done before now? and why hav'nt the oil companies that operate out of Scatsta paid for the improvements themselves? I think there is a lot more to it than Drew Ratter or Jim Irvine let on about.
Posted 01 December 2006 - 11:28 AM
Scatsta is in the private domain so it is above critiscism.
Sumburgh is a public airport, but used by private companies.
The statistics speak for themselves, but they have not been made available, or no one has asked the right people the right questions. Press!!!?? It seems to be regarded as negative to discuss the facts, but it seems to okay to speculate.
The people who know are bound not to speak. Therefore the people who speak don't know what they are talking about- but isn't that what politicians do.
The people who operate aircraft into these places know the score and will go where it suits them, both for safety and financial reasons.
Posted 03 December 2006 - 12:33 PM
*The consortium decide to go with Sumburgh; the Council (i.e. Drew) jumps in to back Scatsta - after all, there is an election round the corner, and the loss of eighty-odd jobs don't look good...
*The consortium maintains the status quo, on the proviso the Council comes up with some support (and I for one would rather see money spent on bringing Scatsta up to par than on some foreign air/ferry company). Drew keeps his seat, everybody's happy.
Anyway, given Sumburgh's nice big new runway, we should see a whole foof of new business coming their way. Won't we...?
Posted 03 December 2006 - 06:49 PM
And as for all the new business from the new runway, the only thing around is going to be oil traffic which would put Scatsta down the tubes.
Rasmie is right, the operators will go where THEY want, not where we decide is most convenient for Shetland, which is why Scatsta needs some support. The council could make things more attractive at Scatsta without having to spend the 9.5 million that Sumburgh's extention cost. The oil companies haven't invested any large amounts of cash because they haven't need to - Scatsta has so far done everything asked of them.
If the transport partnership wants to formalise diversion arrangements, it could limit the formalised arrangments to the Scatsta opening hours and leave the weekend stuff to the 'whenever available' system used now. But contributing to facility improvements would help Scatsta keep it's oil contract and make foggy Sumburgh days easier to work around.
We need both airports, each one provides a backup for the other and without one, operating from the other becomes more difficult.
Sumburgh has had it's investment and got it's runway extension. IMHO I think is about time the council got behind Scatsta for a while. Everything recently has been against Scatsta - proposed forgein fish factories stuck on the end of the runway, proposed windfarms on the hill beside the airfield and the only other large airfield in the island getting a runway that can take BAE146s.
The council seem to have ignored Scatsta completely until, as pernjim points out, the potential loss of 80+ jobs just before an election has woken one councillor.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:34 AM
the only other large airfield in the island getting a runway that can take BAE146s.
Did Sumburgh's runways not take the 146 before the extension? I seem to remember there being a photo of 146's at Sumburgh during the island games, does the extension not mean that they can operate with a better payload than before?
Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:59 AM
Posted 04 December 2006 - 11:06 AM
Posted 04 December 2006 - 12:52 PM
Pernjim - here's another possibility. The consortium moves from Scatsta goes to Kirkwall or Aberdeen or Norway or somewhere and Sumburgh and Shetland loses out.
They may well go from aberdeen or kirkwall or bergen/stavanger, but the first two would have a impact on the helicopter pilots crew hours, and moving to norway would be more expensive i would think, but as you state they will go where they get the best deal and it matters little what the council or Drew Ratter or the rest of us think.
It is a pity about peoples jobs but thats the nature of the business as it was when the jobs moved from sumburgh to scatsta, and when BIH lost the Shell contract to Bristows at the end of the 90's
Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:04 PM
Scatsta's big problem at the moment is, not that it can't fulfil what it was reopened to do, but that the oil companies are increasingly asking for more and more traffic to operate everyday. This has put a big strain on the staff and the infrastructure. Staffing problems of a private company is nothing to do with the council but if the council own the airport and lease it out, surely they could invest some money to make sure that shetland can keep two airports open which, can and do work well together.
The council have said in the past that each airport (and that includes Tingwall) has it's own niche. I can see no benifit to Shetland in the oil contract moving to sumburgh and obvious job loses if the contract leaves shetland. The council should be opening supporting Scatsta and if that involes money, it would be better spent there than on whichever white elephant they have found this month.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:01 PM
I seem to remember that local people at Sumburgh made the extension happen. They formed a committee , made a business plan, put it to the SIC and the Scottish Exec and won them over.
Has anyone done the same for Scatsta? If not why not?
I think the that Unst development committee have a good case for enlarging the runway at Unst - that would be really close to the rigs.
And it wouldn't impact on any other local developments.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 08:24 PM
Unst would, as you say, be closer to the rigs and save pilot/aircraft hours(read - money), but as a diversion for Sumburgh it's not nearly as practical. Inversely when Unst closes due to poor weather, temporary moving the operation to Sumburgh (staff, passengers, aircraft, frieght) would burn up a lot of time.
I can't quote you for the cost of upgrading Scatsta, but as reported in the Times during this summers foggy weeks, the problem is parking spaces for both aircraft and stranded passengers bums. Extra tarmac and a terminal extention surely can't be outwith the realms of whats possible
And hey, whatever tarmac isn't used on the extra apron space could be dumped carefully at the end of the runway.
That's the most realistic option. The no-expense-spared option would be to demolish the existing terminal and hanger and put the crosswind runway back into action. The runway is still there - just need a bit of TLC and resurfacing. Probably could be done for less than 9.5million. (My estimate! )
Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:14 PM
Scatsta's big problem at the moment is, not that it can't fulfil what it was reopened to do, but that the oil companies are increasingly asking for more and more traffic to operate everyday. This has put a big strain on the staff and the infrastructure.
In the intrest of gaining a better understanding of all this,
Why was Scatsta re-opened? was it to offer the oil companies a saving in their costs from their previous operations at Unst and Sumburgh?
And if the oil companies are asking for more traffic to service their needs and that is putting the airfield staff and infrastructure under strain does that not mean it isnt able to meet their needs?
what would the cost of re-opening Unst as to developing Scatsta into a fit for purpose airfield be? because surely if the oil companies wanted to improve it they would have done so?
If the consortium is considering moving to wherever does that mean that they can gain savings at the other airfields you have mentioned
Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:03 AM
my estimate Â£50-60M