ON one rainy/misty Sunday afternoon a few years ago my wife and I were waiting at the incoming flight reception area of Inverness airport to welcome our daughter from the London flight.

We were not alone, and there were perhaps up to 20 other people similarly, awaiting family and friends.

Coincidentally, in the same area, there was an employee of Inverness airport (perhaps the baggage handler?) who I guess was not able to communicate with the incoming aircraft, but he did carry a walkie-talkie which allowed him to monitor the conversation between the incoming pilot and the air traffic control tower. The conversation did not seem to be private and those standing around the employee were able to hear the discussion.

The flight arrived overhead, on schedule, but it had to abort its first attempt at landing. We could hear the pilot say that he had been unable to find a hole in the clouds, and he had therefore decided to do another circuit of the airport. He then made a second attempt with the same outcome.

We heard him inform the tower that he was then going to make a third, and possibly final, attempt at landing. That attempt too was aborted and we heard him say that it would not be safe to try again and he was therefore going to fly to Glasgow in order to make a safe landing. We therefore assumed that the passengers would then be taken by bus from Glasgow back to Inverness.

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As I have said the weather was nasty, but those who heard the conversation clearly understood that the pilot and the control tower had given the landing their best shot. We were of course frustrated with the inevitable conclusion to the landing attempt, but no-one was angry.

We had been informed and we fully understood why the incoming passengers would be delayed by four or five hours as the bus made its way from Glasgow to Inverness.

Can we now consider the frustration caused through the frequent road closures in our towns and cities?

I take as an example, in Edinburgh, the stretch of main road outside Haymarket station. This has been closed since March this year, and we are now informed it may not reopen until early next year.

At first, we thought this closure would be short-term as they were modifying the road to include a cycle lane. Hardly a major job, or so we thought!

The thing is that here, as perhaps in many other cases across the country, we had not been fully informed and inevitably frustration and even anger are the result.

I believe that if disruption is going to be long-term, eg: tram works or fibre cable installation, there should be bold, sign written notice at each end of the works explaining what is being done, the likely timescale, and any particular problems that may be anticipated to arise during the process. And this notice should be amended if any new problems arise.

People do tend to be very forgiving of the difficulties when they fully understand the background.

Keep us informed!

Alex Leggatt


ON June 27 2007 the SNP minority Scottish government faced the threat of a no-confidence motion if it refused to recognise the will of parliament following a vote of 81 to 47 by the combined Labour, LibDem, Conservative and Green opposition to continue with the Edinburgh trams project.

Tuesday’s report shows quite clearly that the disaster that developed over most of a decade resulted from the politically motivated decision to continue with an already flawed project.

John Jamieson

South Queensferry