Strikes expected to disrupt airports in the Highlands and islands have been suspended while unions consider a fresh pay deal. 

The latest offer could bring an end to industrial action across the state-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial) network.

The company operates most airports across the north of Scotland, including Inverness, Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Stornoway and Benbecula.

Fire and rescue, security and administration staff have been involved in the dispute being led by the PCS, Prospect and Unite unions. 

Further action was expected to affect Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Islay, Kirkwall and Wick airports on March 10 as well as Dundee, Inverness and Islay next week. 

However, a new deal of 7% has led to a temporary halt on the strikes from Monday while union members are balloted on the offer.

Hial managing director Inglis Lyon remained optimistic the latest deal would help resolve the dispute which has been ongoing since December. 

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He said: "The new business case presented to Transport Scotland at the beginning of the week was approved and allowed us to make an improved pay offer.

“The trade unions welcomed this offer and have confirmed that they will now ballot their members on acceptance.

“We look forward to the outcome of the ballot and are hopeful for a positive result to resolve the current industrial dispute.

“We apologise for the disruption this industrial action has caused and would ask passengers to contact their airline if they have any questions on flights.”

Jane Rose, of Prospect, told the BBC the latest offer was a "welcome improvement". 

We previously reported that airline Loganair is prepared to suspend some of its island flights for at least six weeks due to a work to rule. 

The move triggered concerns hundreds of Scots islanders could be set to miss out on medical appointments on the mainland.

The Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles has warned that the action potentially presents “the most significant disruption to patient services” that the health board has experienced to date outwith the pandemic.