Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) is to launch a passenger survey at three of its airports where car parking charges are planned to be introduced from July.
Passengers at Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh airports will be asked their views on airport amenities, as well as the planned implementation of the £3 per day parking charges, over 18 days from Friday (April 20).
HIAL is working with an independent consultancy to lead the survey and the survey will gather the views of islanders and airport users.
Passengers and those using the drop-off/collection facilities are to be a key focus of the survey.
The company announced in March that it planned to introduce parking charges at the airports as it continues its long-term programme of sustainable improvement.
The three airports join HIAL’s other operated airports at Inverness and Dundee, where parking charges are already in place.
Once the investment in parking facilities is recouped the money raised will be continuously reinvested to maintain and ultimately improve the local airports and service provision ensuring the long-term resilience of island airport operations.
HIAL Managing Director, Inglis Lyon, said that having announced the proposals last month, the survey would provide valuable information on the way the company could assist passengers and airport-users around the implementation of the charges.
Mr Lyon said: “Having announced the plans to introduce the charges, we wanted to get the views of those who use the airports to further understand what we might do to ensure that the proposals work practically for everyone involved.
“HIAL airports are required to operate as cost-effectively as possible and we have developed a sensible, fair and pragmatic funding model that enables us to deliver growth and ensure the vital connectivity to our communities in the Highlands and Islands.
“We have been mindful of the important role that air travel plays for those people who use healthcare facilities and receive medical treatment on the mainland and we have made provision to ensure they will be exempt from the parking charges.
“By listening further to what the people using our airports say, we can review and potentially adjust the proposals further ahead of their implementation in July.”
The proposals include a free hour pick up/drop off period, unlike at other Scottish airports, which is intended to assist those who do not have alternative transport to get to the airports, and therefore may rely on relatives and friends picking up or dropping off.
HIAL has limited the new charge to £3 per 24-hour period.
In addition, a ticket waiver scheme will allow passengers who have to travel to attend medical and hospital appointments to park for free.
The number of spaces planned for each airport are: Sumburgh 508; Kirkwall 288; and Stornoway 318.
These figures are based on current use and anticipated growth.