The airspace consultation by Edinburgh Airport should be fair and open according to Linlithgow’s MSP.
Fiona Hyslop made her claims shortly after the airport announced it is to carry out a two-stage consultation on the potential impact of altering flight paths above Edinburgh and the surrounding areas to allow for maximum operational benefits and to minimise community impact.
The MSP, who conducted a comprehensive survey on the issue in which 2000 local residents, said: “Following the serious concerns about how Edinburgh Airport handled the recent flight path trial, it is vital that they learn the lessons and ensure that this consultation is open, fair and transparent and not just a rubber stamp for the TUTUR route.
“I understand that the first part of the consultation is to look at the wider issue of airspace use and for the Airport to look at the use of existing paths which have also been the subject of concern.
“It is essential that my constituents in West Lothian engage with this consultation and make their views heard.”
Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar admitted the airport was rightly criticised for how it handled the TUTUR flight path trial. He said: “This time last year we were – justifiably in some cases - criticised for not engaging thoroughly enough with our neighbouring communities before running a flight path trial.
“We’ve learned our lessons and this time round will do all that we reasonably can to ensure that everyone has their say on the future growth of Edinburgh Airport.”
Airspace regulations mean the airport is obliged to engage in an Airspace Change Programme, which involves a two stage consultation process. Until September 12, the airport will aim to gather views from the public, with the results helping to design and develop the potential future flight path options which will be presented in a second consultation stage, scheduled to commence on December 16.
Edinburgh Airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We need to modernise and improve Edinburgh Airport in a way that maximises the benefits across Scotland and minimises the impact on local communities.
Gordon said: “We want everyone to know they have the opportunity to have their say on the positioning of potential future flight path changes.
“We’ll also be engaging with community groups to help us have discussions in local communities.”
Helena Paul of the Edinburgh Airport Watch, formally SEAT, said: “I’m worried about what is next. Having gone through a lot of trouble with the TUTUR flight path I do not feel Edinburgh Airport were open or transparent.”