Kirkwall Airport will close its scheduled flights and routine general aviation traffic starting on Sunday.
This decision, announced this morning by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), aims to limit the spread of the coronavirus, protect the health and well-being of its personnel, and have the resilience necessary to maintain its ability to provide essential services. and emergency flights.
HIAL says they are working with Transport Scotland and Loganair to agree on a skeleton timetable to ensure airports provide lifelines and essential services, including NHS passenger transfers, the Royal Mail and the oil industry and gas.
The emergency measures put in place by HIAL will ensure that resilience is maintained, making it possible to serve essential flights with the minimum staff required.
HIAL CEO Inglis Lyon said: “Our airports are unique in that their primary role is to provide vital services to our Highland and Island communities.
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“Today more than ever, there is a need to safeguard these vital services.
“I appreciate that this crisis is uncharted territory for all of us and at the moment we do not know how long these essential measures will remain in place.
“We would not be able to maintain these services for our communities without the extraordinary team spirit and commitment shown by our staff throughout the HIAL group and I am grateful for their flexibility and dedication over a period of time. very difficult for all of us. ”
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “Our aviation sector is facing an unprecedented challenge in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, so the Scottish government is working with industry partners to ensure our vital air links continue to work for the remote communities that depend on them.
“These air routes are crucial for the transportation of supplies and key workers, as well as providing a vital link when emergency transportation to the continent is required.
“I would also like to thank all of the HIAL staff for their efforts during this difficult period.”
Information on the skeleton calendar will be published on the HIAL website and on social media.