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2 November 05
HIAL Sets Out Airport Land Development Agenda
Land at airports across the Highlands and Islands is to be made available for commercial and social uses as part of Highlands and Islands Airports' development strategy , it was revealed today.

HIAL, which operates 10 airports in the region, intends to free up non-operational land at its facilities for business and housing
development. The initiative forms part of the company's commitment to supporting economic development and sustainable communities.

Elements of the plan already underway include commercial uses for land at Wick, housing and business development at Stornoway, housing and tourism development at Tiree and the major Inverness Airport Business Park joint venture at the region's largest airport. Discussions with Orkney Islands Council and Orkney Enterprise are also underway regarding land at Kirkwall Airport.

HIAL's managing director Inglis Lyon said: "We have a considerable land bank within the group of 10 airports and we have identified portions of this that are surplus to our own operational requirements. Freeing this resource up for business and residential development is something we are very keen to achieve as it will support economic and social sustainability in both mainland and island communities.

"A number of projects are already progressing with the Inverness Airport Business Park joint venture being the largest and most advanced. We have also secured outline planning permission for a mixed use development at Stornoway to include an airport hotel, light industrial units and housing. At Tiree we are in the early stages of discussing land use for affordable housing and tourism-related business.

"We believe there is a huge amount of potential here and are finding that the local authorities and enterprise network are interested in and supportive of our proposals. If the land is not operationally necessary we think it is best used for development in ways that will bolster the local economy, address housing shortages and support strong and sustainable communities.

"Airports are economic drivers and the obvious synergies between them and business and tourism need to be maximised. Our commitment is to work in partnership with the public and private sectors to achieve this in the years ahead. This approach fits with our objective of increasing non-aviation returns from our assets while supporting the wider development agenda in the region," said Mr Lyon.