North Isles airfields – no recreational visits during Covid-19

North Isles airfields – no recreational visits during Covid-19
20 April 2020

Orkney Islands Council is reminding pilots that recreational flights should not be made to North Isles airfields during the coronavirus crisis.

Recreational flights involving Council-owned and operated airfields in the North Isles have reportedly taken place on at least two occasions over the past few weeks.

The airfields are currently closed to recreational visits by aircraft in line with Scottish Government emergency measures to restrict non-essential travel. In addition, recreational flying should not take place below 500 feet in the air space immediately around the airfields.

The restrictions are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 infection, save lives and protect the NHS.

Brian Archibald, OIC’s Head of Marine Services, Engineering and Transportation, said: “Higher risk recreational activity such as flying, yachting or mountaineering is actively discouraged and could be regarded as irresponsible during the pandemic.

“In the event of an accident, the emergency and services and NHS could face considerable added pressure at a time when so much effort is going into the local and nationwide response to Covid-19.”

The airfields were reportedly used without prior permission being sought. Pilots are required to do this under the terms of the Council’s license to operate issued by the Civil Aviation Authority.

North Isles airfields remain open for Loganair flights, currently operating a reduced twice-daily service, for any medical emergencies, for the transportation of medical samples or tests, and for the delivery of medication and freight when required.

Fire crews at the airfields are continuing to train and provide cover when flights are notified - to ensure that the communities they serve can receive the lifeline services they depend upon.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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