Highlands and Islands Airports Limited has revealed plans to invest £9 million in new, energy-efficient aeronautical ground lighting systems at Kirkwall and Inverness airports .

Scottish Government-owned HIAL said the investment at the two sites, for which contractors have been selected, was “part of an ongoing programme to maintain airport infrastructure that will also bring environmental benefits”.

GMR Henderson has been awarded the contract for the work at Kirkwall, with G&A Barnie selected for the Inverness project, following open tender processes.

HIAL envisages energy-consumption savings of up to 80% from the new lighting.

The aeronautical ground lighting systems provide visual guidance to pilots during landing, taxiing and take-off in darkness and when visibility is impaired because of adverse weather conditions.

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Of the overall figure, £5m is being invested in Kirkwall and £4m in Inverness. HIAL said: “The new lighting will ensure the airports can continue to operate safely and be compliant with Civil Aviation Authority requirements. They will also reduce energy consumption by up to 80%.”

It emphasised that work has been planned to ensure there is no impact on flights, “with little disturbance at either airport”.

HIAL added that the work was set to begin in April, continuing through to mid-September at Inverness and due to be completed at Kirkwall in October.

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Graeme Bell, general manager at Inverness Airport, said: "The new lighting represents a significant modernisation of our airfield lighting system and will contribute to decreased maintenance schedules, while at the same time reducing the airport's environmental footprint.

“The energy-saving qualities of the new system will contribute significantly to reducing our energy consumption at Inverness airport”.

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Kirkwall Airport manager Kimberley Fisher said: “Having this new LED AGL system in place not only keeps our runways safe and compliant with regulation, but also supports our work to be more energy efficient. “The project has been designed to create a seamless transition from the old to the new, more sustainable system without impacting our services.”