Highlands and Islands Airports (Hial) has been condemned for being “stubborn” and “bull-headed” in its latest plans to centralise air traffic control across the north.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said airport bosses were all “smoke and mirrors” in their plans to strip lifeline assets from fragile rural communities.
Hial propose to move all operations from six regional airports to Inverness by 2023.
The proposals would leave towers stationed in Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles and Wick John O’Groats airport unmanned.
More than £6million has so far been spent on the project to purchase New Century House in the city and cover consultancy fees.
During an address by Hial chief executive Inglis Lyon to ministers of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, he emphasised abandoning the project was “not on our agenda” but acknowledged the complexities facing them as they move forward.
Ms Grant said more transparency is needed by the agency to establish the crippling affects the costly cuts would have on rural communities.
She said: “Hial is all smoke and mirrors and is relying on a lot of technical speak to cover the fact that this project is not well thought through, not cost effective and is being pushed forward as a matter of stubbornness. As soon as you start to pull at the thread of Hial’s argument it all comes apart.”
A spokesman from Hial said her allegations were “poor” and stressed their door was always open to discuss the proposals in more detail.