• December 1, 2010

The general secretary (GS) of the League has written a series of letters to airports in the Celtic countries (example below) requesting that they review their working practice when it comes to using the respective Celtic languages in their working practice.

The letter writing campaign stems from a resolution passed at the League’s 2010 annual general meeting (AGM) in Mannin/Mannin, which stated:

“Notes the general lack of Celtic language signage in airports and ferry terminals, other than occasional phrases for tourists, and calls upon all Celtic countries to rectify this.”

The GS has also copied in the relevant Government minister’s into the letter to highlight the League’s interest in this area. In the letter, an example of which can be found below, the GS points out the good practice seen at Maes Awyr Caerdydd/Cardiff Airport in Cymru/Wales and asks that Glasgow Prestwick Airport contact Cardiff to ask for further details.

In line with the resolution above, the GS will also be writing to ferry terminals in the Celtic countries.

“Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Dear Sir/Madam

Language policy

I would like to draw your attention to the Welsh language policy that is implemented at Maes Awyr Caerdydd/Cardiff Airport, in Cymru/Wales. I am keen to point this out to you to share an example of good practice from another airport in a Celtic country and also to request that you review your working practices to include a greater use of the Scottish Gaelic language in your work in the

The language policy at Maes Awyr Caerdydd was launched in March 2009 and is a forward looking attempt to put the Welsh language into all areas of communication at the airport, including on signs, advertising and stationary. Moreover, the airport encourages its staff to use and develop their Welsh language skills when at work and their website is fully bilingual. This policy represents a significant improvement for the airport, which until last year used little or no Welsh language at all.

The Managing Director of Maes Awyr Caerdydd, Patrick Duffy, noted in November 2009 that the aim of introducing the policy was for the airport to be “seen by all stakeholders as an increasingly bilingual organisation serving all of the people of Wales” and to this end the airport has succeeded in improving “the quality of customer service, attracting new customers, increasing customer loyalty and enhancing public relations.”

As you will be aware, airports play an important part in the promotion of the heritage and culture of the country in which they are based, because they are often the first impression travellers have. From my experience of travelling through and to airports, those that offer a strong sense of place are far more appealing than those that present a bland international image. At our 2010 annual general meeting, delegates unanimously passed a resolution calling for greater use of Celtic language signage at airports and in their working practice in general and I have copied this letter to the Minister for Transport in Scotland, Stewart Stevenson, so that he is further aware of our interest in this area.

Research has shown that there is a strong link between sense of place, identity and economic well-being, with areas that demonstrate high levels of particularism and distinctiveness faring better over those that do not. I am positive that in today’s tight economic climate any business enterprise would seek to include a measure of distinctiveness in its work if it could. Using the Scottish Gaelic language in your business is a simple and natural step in this direction. I firmly believe that the further inclusion of Gaelic in the airport’s communication channels would not only benefit the airport economically, by promoting greater customer loyalty and service. It will also heighten awareness that the airport is keen to accommodate a more inclusive approach.

Thank you for taking into consideration our suggestions. We hope that you are motivated to get in touch with Maes Awyr Caerdydd to find out more about the benefits of using a bilingual approach as part of your business.

Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

CC Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister of Transport”

This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              

M: 0044(0)7787318666 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


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