Life at Scotland’s remote airports revealed on BBC Alba TV series

Barra Airport is set to feature in the new series. Picture: Wiki Commons

Barra Airport is set to feature in the new series. Picture: Wiki Commons

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A behind-the-scenes insight into the work of Scotland’s busy airports, including on remote island destinations, is to feature in a new television series.

A BBC Alba team has followed the lives of those who work across airports throughout the Highlands and Islands.

The Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft that operates on Scotland's PSO routes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Twin Otter DHC6-400 aircraft that operates on Scotland's PSO routes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

From Barra and Benbecula to Sumburgh in Shetland, as well as Oban and Aberdeen, the eight part series looks at the work of the airports and the people who make it all happen.

At Benbecula Airport, Shonnie MacKay is in charge of the fuel tanker but is under pressure when more planes and helicopters than expected come in on one particular day and supplies run low.

Over at Sumburgh Airport, Avril Irvine works on the check-in desk with Sandra Moore and we see how they cope when they have to deal with an influx of additional passengers when bad weather shuts Scatsta Airport on the north of the island.

The series also looks at the wide variety of duties the firefighters have to undertake at Sumburgh, including plane marshalling and clearing birds away from the runway, which poses a real problem.

There is also get a glimpse into what is required to become an air traffic controller when Chris Sandström gets put to the test at Sumburgh with Andy Bell keeping a watchful eye.

READ MORE: Barra Airport named among world’s most scenic

Barra airport is famous for its beach runway where planes land on Traigh Mhòr, and is the only beach runway in the world that has scheduled flights.

The landing procedure is complex and skilled firefighters, Kenny Beaton and Joe Gilles, take viewers through the process as an aircraft is on approach.

Also featured is Gaelic-speaking pilot Mairi Nicholson from Grimsay in Uist as she flies the Twin Otter from Glasgow in to Barra.

Oban Airport serves some of the west coast islands on alternate days and the BBC ALBA crew visits Colonsay and Islay with pilot Julie Angel.

The air ambulance crew at Aberdeen Airport also appear and will star paramedic Peter Craigmile as he travels as far north as Shetland and as far west as Stornoway - all in a day’s work.

The series also sees Donald MacKay in action working in the control tower at Benbecula Airport. The team are expecting a large military plane to come in at night, and fire watch manager Derek Campbell has to check all the runways before darkness falls.

From their Inverness Airport base, the series follows the Coastguard helicopter during some training missions.

It shows winchman paramedic Josh Williams in the mountains near Ullapool airlifting volunteers off the mountainside, and a maritime rescue in conjunction with the Invergordon lifeboat where winchman Jon Burley has to get himself and a stretcher safely onto the deck of the moving lifeboat.

READ MORE: Experts call for BBC Alba subtitles in Gaelic

Produced by Midas Media for BBC ALBA, the eight-part series starts tonight on BBC Alba at 8.30pm.

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