Call to ensure that Aberdeen airport is not left behind

SNP and Green Ministers must restore Aberdeen airport's status as a national travel corridor, after it was "revoked" from a 20-year Scottish strategy.

By John A. MacInnes
Friday, 25th March 2022, 8:43 am
Aberdeen airport
Aberdeen airport

The fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4) is due to be approved at the Scottish Parliament this year.

Aberdeen featured in the last "spatial strategy" which airport chiefs described as "important for investor confidence and the ability of airports to develop and decarbonise."

But no mention of that status has been made in the new framework.

Glasgow Prestwick airport

Operator AGS has written to the parliament's economy committee arguing that it is "imperative" the final NPF4 restores Aberdeen as a designated national development.

North East region Scottish Conservative MSP Douglas Lumsden said: "At present, we are lagging behind other OECD countries in connectivity.

"There is a great opportunity here to recognise and develop regional airports like Aberdeen.

"Aviation connectivity will only become more important for the North East, if we are to develop Aberdeen as the green energy capital of Europe, and fully harness the potential of freeports.

"But, as is ever the case for this SNP-Green government, the potential for growth and jobs is ignored.

"One might ask what has happened between the start of the process and this draft, and whether the Greens have exerted undue influence.”

It follows a Westminster report that criticised the "distortion" made when the Scottish Government backed Prestwick Airport with £45m during the pandemic, while competing airports received no Covid cash.

Scottish Affairs Committee member Andrew Bowie, Tory MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: "It is unacceptable to erase Aberdeen from the spatial strategy — effectively removing it from national planning consideration for a generation.

"During the pandemic, regional airports like Aberdeen struggled as much as any others. Job losses, route cutting and economic uncertainty affected them all.

"But there was no help for some, while the SNP were content to throw good money after bad elsewhere."