• STV
  • MySTV

Plane takes off without air traffic control clearance

Edinburgh-bound flight departed from Kirkwall Airport in Orkney amid dispute over pay.

Investigation: A flight took off without air traffic control clearance.
Investigation: A flight took off without air traffic control clearance. Pixabay

A plane departed from Orkney without air traffic control clearance amid a staff pay dispute.

The Loganair flight from Kirkwall Airport to Edinburgh - carrying 33 passengers and three crew members - was scheduled to depart at 7.35pm on Friday.

However at 7.43pm, it was denied start-up clearance.

The aircraft then used "alternative procedures" to take off, including utilising the help of the airport's fire and rescue service to operate the runway lights.

Loganair and Highland and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) told STV News that safety was not compromised and the flight eventually proceeded as planned at 8.45pm.

Orkney: The flight took off from Kirkwall.
Orkney: The flight took off from Kirkwall. Pixabay

The incident took place amid a pay dispute between HIAL and Prospect union members.

The workers have taken action short of a strike, which includes working to rosters, the refusal of non-medical extensions, an overtime ban and the withdrawal of goodwill. 

On Tuesday, the union announced that a planned strike for April 26 had been called off due to "productive" discussions through conciliation service ACAS.

Loganair believes safety staff should have been available until 8.30pm, "to accommodate eventualities such as an aircraft departing but then needing to return after take-off in an emergency".

However, the union has argued that start-up clearance was denied as it would have involved a controller having to work beyond their shift - contravening "very strict" rest periods.

https://stv.tv/news/highlands-islands/1436025-air-traffic-controllers-to-strike-over-pay-in-april/ | default

Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair's managing director and accountable manager, said: "We believe that Friday evening's actions by air traffic control staff at Kirkwall were beyond the scope of the dispute notified by Prospect.

"It is a matter of profound regret that HIAL's air traffic controllers - a group whom we hold in the highest professional regard - have chosen to engage in this action based on their union's advice, and moreover have exceeded the legal scope of action in doing so.

"This introduces unnecessary pressure for everyone into an operational environment where safety is paramount.

"We are calling on Prospect to ensure its members act within the law; and on HIAL and the cabinet secretary for transport to take action against Prospect to ensure that its right to engage in industrial action is exercised only lawfully.

"All indications available to us are that this was not the case in Kirkwall on Friday evening.

"We would like to thank the HIAL safety teams and Loganair's crew for their efforts to ensure that our customers were able to safely enjoy their planned flight to Edinburgh despite this unforeseen and unnecessary turn of events in the HIAL and Prospect dispute."

'We understand there is an ongoing investigation into the incident and the Civil Aviation Authority have been informed. It would be wrong to get into too much specific detail on the incident while that investigation is ongoing'
David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer

In response, David Avery, Prospect negotiations officer, said the union's industrial action was instigated and carried out legally.

He said: "Even without the work to rule, if a flight wants to depart outside the airport's opening hours, an extension would be voluntary and could not be guaranteed."

He added: "The rules relating to rest periods for air traffic controllers are very strict.

"Due to these rules the controller had to come off the desk at 8pm and there is a requirement that the last departure is 15 minutes before the close to ensure that an aircraft can return if there is a problem during take-off.

"Loganair had been informed that the last departure time was 7.45pm. It takes ten minutes from start-up clearance to departure."

In the air: The plane eventually arrived in Edinburgh.
In the air: The plane eventually arrived in Edinburgh. Pixabay

An investigation has now been launched by Highlands and Islands Airport Limited.

A HIAL spokesperson said: "HIAL is investigating the circumstances that resulted in Loganair flight 394 from Kirkwall to Edinburgh being unable to depart during airport opening hours on Friday, April 5.

"The flight was able to depart following a dynamic risk assessment undertaken by Loganair's flight operations management in conjunction with HIAL.

"Recognised safety procedures were followed before the aircraft departed safely and completed its schedule to Edinburgh."

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has also been informed.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of an incident involving a flight departing from Kirkwall Airport on Friday, April 5 and are currently looking into the circumstances."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.