Inverness Airport set for longer opening time for night mail

14.4.2010 (Press & Journal)

Inverness terminal aims to win mail contract currently held at RAF Kinloss

By jonny muir

Inverness Airport will extend its opening hours to allow night flying if it wins
a major contract for mail deliveries, it emerged yesterday.

Post for the Highlands and Moray is currently flown to RAF Kinloss, but the base’s
contract for the service expires next year.

A spokesman for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial), which runs Inverness
Airport, revealed it was "keen" to clinch a deal with Royal Mail.

It would mean the airport at Dalcross, which currently operates between 6.30am
and 9.30pm, staying open during the early hours of the morning when flights carrying
mail would arrive.

The spokesman said: "The current contract for mail deliveries in the Highlands
expires in 12 months and Inverness Airport can confirm that it is keen to attract
this business.

"At the moment there is no timescale for the introduction of extended hours at
Inverness Airport."

He said Hial had no plans to increase passenger flights outwith current airport
opening hours, but that the airport is "always looking to increase passenger flights
within existing airport opening hours".

Although no timescale has been announced, Hial is already advertising for firefighters
and crew managers who would be required in case of emergencies involving mail

It is seeking people to work between 2am and 6am five nights a week "as we expand
our opening hours to meet the demand for Royal Mail flights".

Applicants will be interviewed from April 26, even though the mail flights would
not start arriving at Inverness until next spring.

The Hial spokesman added: "The training for firefighters is lengthy and Inverness
Airport needs to be in a position to provide fully-trained and equipped firefighters
if they win this contract in the future."

A spokeswoman for RAF Kinloss said it received a directive from the UK Government
for mail deliveries.

Post has been flown to the base since at least 2000, with the contract, which
is funded by Royal Mail, last being re-negotiated in 2007.

Under the existing arrangement, mail for the Highlands and Moray arrives on two
or three planes in the early hours of the morning.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "As with any contract, Royal Mail speaks to a
variety of parties when an existing contract is near its conclusion, particularly
if there are solutions potentially available which may help us improve our quality
of service to our customers.

"We won’t comment any further on confidential commercial matters."


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