The use of Ronaldsway IOM Airport for training purposes by RAF Hawk trainer jets from RAF Valley in Anglesey should cease. The Manx government via the Department of Infrastructure should end its use now!
The RAF has trained 102 Saudi military pilots in the last decade with 30 personnel training at Valley. The base also trains personnel for the Air Forces of Kuwait, the UAE and other Gulf states which contribute aircrew and planes to support the Saudi led bombing of Yemen which was deemed a war crime by UN investigators in August last year.
The use by RAF Valley of Ronaldsway is not of any economic value to the Isle of Man and indeed may pose a security risk. Questions were asked in the UK parliament last year about the security implications of training Saudi aircrew at Valley:
Morally it is indefensible that air crews that may have then gone on to target homes, schools, hospitals and markets in Yemen killing and maiming innocent men, women and children were (and are) facilitated by our government.
Image: Civil defence workers and a medic from MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) rescue bomb victims in Sanaa, Yemen after Saudi Air Force bombing – Inset Minister for DOI which runs the IOM Airport.
Note: Peace groups in Wales have urged the Welsh parliament to make its opposition to the training of overseas aircrew from war zones at RAF Valley
pp, Celtic League Military Monitoring