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Shetland's airports


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#1 breeksy

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:06 PM

There is a bit in the Shetland Times tomorrow about Shetland's flights - due to weather conditions in Sumburgh, a few flights this week (as well as flights on the day Sakchai flew from Sumburgh) that should have gone to Sumburgh have gone to Scatsta - including the mail plane, Atlantic Airways London-Faroe flight, Loganair and most importantly the air ambulance.

It is almost always in the Shetland Times when Scatsta uses Sumburgh - and Sumburgh is geared up to do this (with the support of the staff at Scatsta).

But due to constraints on the licensing of the airport at Scatsta, travellers from Sumburgh cannot check in and fly from Scatsta. Wouldn't the best solution be for both airports to be used for the sake of the island? Or am I being too naiive?

#2 Frances144

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:42 PM

Read on Shetland News that Atlantic Airways are considering their future with Shetland due to the all the fog.

When we took some friends to catch their flight home to Manchester via Aberdeen (Loganair/BA), we were told the plane was cancelled due to the low cloud/fog. They said the airport equipment normally used for this weather situation (automatic landing) was being updated so could not be used so no flights in or out as the pilots had to land on visual info only (ie none!).

I am worried that Atlantic Airways will make a decision about the viability on the Shetland route based on the fact that Sumburgh airport, for their own reasons, decided to update their fog equipment in the foggiest months of the year while having no back-up system available!

Has anyone else been given this excuse by Loganair/BA? Seems utterly ridiculous to me!

F

#3 JustMe

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:59 PM

I think BA/Loganair cancelled the last flight in on wednesday without thinking about the weather improving. Looking south towards the airport the weather had cleared well before the arrival time.

I also recall instrument landing systems back in the days when Tridents were flying that were claimed to allow flights to land at Heathrow in Zero visibility. Have we moved backwards.

Having said that I would not ever want to be on a plane landing at Sumburgh if the pilot was not happy with the visibility.

I think the Scatsta issue is not just to do with council rules or issues of ground staff. Pilots need to be trained and kept up to date with airports they will be flying to and, while I accept they can land anywhere big enough in an emergency, weather diversions would require an airport the flight crew were qualified to land at.

Thinking of the position of Scatsta I think I would be unhappy if my flight was trying to land there without the flight crew being up top date on that airport.

#4 Ghostrider

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:59 PM

But due to constraints on the licensing of the airport at Scatsta, travellers from Sumburgh cannot check in and fly from Scatsta. Wouldn't the best solution be for both airports to be used for the sake of the island? Or am I being too naiive?


Is it ever reported though how often Sumburgh has to step in to the breech when Scatsta is closed though, or when both airports are unusable?

To attempt to answer the having two airports question though. While I'm no expert of the subject, I think you would find that the standards required for Scatsta as is, ie one suitable for private charter flights and as an emergency diversionary airport, fall a long way short those required for a full blown public airport like Sumburgh.

It is, I think, very much open to debate if Shetland could justify, or even afford longer term, to initially finance, and continously maintain two airports to the required standards. I cannot see HIA which operates Sumburgh taking over Scatsta and effectively doubling their costs and splitting their income, which would leave only the cooncil kitty to be plundered....... :?

#5 breeksy

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 09:01 PM

Weather diversions have been happening at Scatsta - by Loganair (i.e. BA flights).

They can't use it as a destination, but they can as a diversion.

#6 Ghostrider

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 09:19 PM

I am worried that Atlantic Airways will make a decision about the viability on the Shetland route based on the fact that Sumburgh airport, for their own reasons, decided to update their fog equipment in the foggiest months of the year while having no back-up system available!

Has anyone else been given this excuse by Loganair/BA? Seems utterly ridiculous to me!

F


As I understand it the ILS upgrade is an integral part of the extension/upgrade of the east/west runway, it is the final stage after the construction and surfacing/resurfacing work is complete. Due to the construction work being done in the sea the summer was really the only viable work periods so as not to have a significant percentage of their work removed by wave action. Likewise the surfacing/resurfacing had to be done at night, as the runway in question was still in daily use, and doing it in summer gave maximum night light hours keeping floodlit work to a minimum, also avoided delays due to wet or frozen runway surface etc, and provided higher temps, all of which were necessary to lay the best quality tarmac.

Doing the ILS upgrade now is partly due to the other work just having been completed to a stage it can proceed, plus gives it best chance to be done as quickly as possible with the best of weather, therefor hopefully keeping the possible disreuption period to it's very minimum. Were it have been attempted in winter the risk of work being delayed for days and weeks due to high wind, snow or whatnot opened up a risk of the airport having to operate for a far longer period without any ILS at all.

It should also be remembered, that although the upgraded ILS will allow flights to descend to a lower altitude than the old version did, CAA regulations still apply that they need to have visual at that altitude, or they must abort. Landing 100% blind, particularly where Sumburgh concerned is impossible.

#7 david

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:39 PM

I remember someone said to me, and the may have been speaking rubbish but, Sumburgh airport is one of the hardest airports in the world to land at.

#8 Ghostrider

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 11:51 PM

I remember someone said to me, and the may have been speaking rubbish but, Sumburgh airport is one of the hardest airports in the world to land at.


As a rule pilots tend to hate using the long north/south runway, in/out the south end has to be done as a banking ascent/descent because of the position of Sumburgh/Compass Heads, and in/out the north end has climb/descent issues due to the flightpath being over houses. (Me!! :? ) I've never heard complaints about the shorter east/west one though, as it's a clean straight approach over the water both ends....although some have been known to go just a little too low on the long low approach. 8O

#9 trout

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 06:43 AM

I remember someone said to me, and the may have been speaking rubbish but, Sumburgh airport is one of the hardest airports in the world to land at.


Is Scatsta not graded C for being the most difficult type of airport to land at .... hey! any offshore workers on here ..? ... read that card in the seat in front of you and tell us the craic!! I canna mind whit it says noo!!

#10 sludgegulper

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 08:38 AM

Have heard a rumour that the new runway extension at Sumburgh can't be used for it's full length due to it being built too narrow. Just a rumour.............

#11 Kevin

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 09:09 AM

Sumburgh is a misty hole o sharn (pardon my french).

They should of built shetland's main airport wast of the Weisdale hill, there's far less misty days oot wast!

mind... West is Best!

#12 sludgegulper

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:06 AM

[quote name="Frances144"]Read on Shetland News that Atlantic Airways are considering their future with Shetland due to the all the fog.


See the flight from Faroe is delayed today due to fog there. I don't imagine for one moment that they will consider their future there though.

#13 Ghostrider

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:12 AM

Sumburgh is a misty hole o sharn (pardon my french).

They should of built shetland's main airport wast of the Weisdale hill, there's far less misty days oot wast!

mind... West is Best!


You're welcome t' im, sum ih wis wid be blyde t' be clear idda kirrat o' it aw. :)

#14 lec

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 11:12 AM

I never did understand why the Cooncil chose to develop Sumburgh at the expense of the Tingwall airstrip.

Going back a [good few] years, Manx Air used to fly from Edinburgh to Tingwall, took an hour and a half and then in no more than 3/4 of an hour you could be in Hillswick / Sumburgh or Skeld. Far more convenient than an hour and a half from Sumburgh. I'm a bit biased though, used to bide in Hillswick and did once have to get up for the first flight out of Sumbrugh. NEVER AGAIN!!

That's really my main gripe about Sumburgh, that and the "public transport" available if you're heading up and don't have anyone to meet you. You used to be told that the buses waited for the flights, but I've watched more than one head off when the flight was on its descent - it's not as if there's many folk waiting at stops further up that are going to be made late if the bus isn't there on time is it?

Suppose it's too late for Tingwall to be resurrected, but agree with Kevin that somewhere west of Lerwick would make far more sense.

#15 JustMe

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:10 PM

lec wrote

That's really my main gripe about Sumburgh, that and the "public transport" available if you're heading up and don't have anyone to meet you. You used to be told that the buses waited for the flights, but I've watched more than one head off when the flight was on its descent - it's not as if there's many folk waiting at stops further up that are going to be made late if the bus isn't there on time is it?


Sadly the airport bus is now a public bus service serving all the people on the route from Sumburgh to Lerwick. Being a public bus it cannot wait for more than a few minutes as people would have a genuine complaint if they were left waiting in a cold wet bus shelter when a plane was late. In the old days the bus to/from the airport was chartered by British Airways and so would wait for late arrivals.

Last time I arrived to find the bus gone I debated the cost of a taxi to town against having a few beers at the airport while I waited for the next bus. The beer won.

Incidentally.....the flight on descent would still have to land, taxi to the terminal and then the passengers would have to wait for their luggage...that adds up to a lot longer than the bus can wait.

#16 Marvin

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:32 PM

See the flight from Faroe is delayed today due to fog there. I don't imagine for one moment that they will consider their future there though.


I had a similar problem the last time I flew to Faroe from Aberdeen. The thing is though they diverted to Bergen........! They (Atlantic Airways) then bussed us 2 hours to Voss and then couldn't get a bus to take us back the next morning until 10am. I got to Faroe eventually and then my return flight to Copenhagen was cancelled for no reason so they put me to Stavanger where I had to catch a different flight to Copenhagen...

The Faroese people (and airline) are just as used to disrupted travel as we are..... :wink:

#17 trout

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 12:40 PM

Sumburgh is a misty hole o shite (pardon my french).

They should of built shetland's main airport wast of the Weisdale hill, there's far less misty days oot wast!

mind... West is Best!


It's funny I have heard this quite a bit. I would tend to agree with it too.

The fact that it would descimate "da ness" is probably why it's never been done?!

#18 NewMagnie

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:02 PM

The fact that it would cost millions when shetland is awash with semi serviceable airports is probably why its never been done. Although, the semi sacred status of the Ness folk's employment has figured in decisions about Shetland's airports previously.

For example, when Shell wanted to move from Sumburgh to Unst in 96 the SIC refused permission largely on this basis. Shell's reaction? Told the SIC to get stuffed and promptly decamped to Aberdeen.

Nice one, Slim...

#19 Tom

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 01:53 PM

Speaking of Unst, they've got that nice airstrip in Baltasound... and it would certainly help local employment and revenues on the Ferry to Yell and the Mainland!

Pity it's not next to the RAF buildings...

(does that airstrip ever get used anymore??)

#20 NewMagnie

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:08 PM

Kept up on a care and maintenance basis for the air ambulance to the best of my knowledge. The Hanger's used for storing gritters.