Edinburgh Airport has extended its consultation into a controversial new flight path after admitting it had lost nearly 200 responses.
The airport said the blunder happened during a “planned upgrade” of the consultation website and “apologised wholeheartedly”.
Officials are contacting 21 of the 199 people whose responses were lost, who had included their email addresses.
They appealed to the rest to resubmit their comments as responses posted last week were not recorded.
The “Airspace Change Programme” (ACP) consultation – to accommodate more flights – has been extended a week to Monday, 19 September.
The news came hours before chief executive Gordon Dewar was due to attend a public meeting in Linlithgow last night organised by protesters Edinburgh Airport Watch about current noise problems.
A spokesman for the group said: “This is simply shocking incompetence, even for Edinburgh Airport. Their consultation is fatally flawed, and for the sake of their reputation they must scrap this unnecessary and bungled ACP process now.” The airport said thousands of submissions had been made since the consultation opened in June.
Director of communications Gordon Robertson said: “We have identified that responses submitted via the consultation website between 10:31am on Monday 29 August and 12:05 pm Friday 2 September did not save during a planned upgrade of the site.
“Although this is a relatively small number of responses in the context of the overall number of submissions, we are committed to ensuring all who want to comment on our plans can.
“Despite this, 21 email addresses were captured and the airport has this morning responded to them directly to explain the situation and request they resubmit.
“To that end we are asking anyone whose response may therefore not be visible to us to resubmit their views.
“We apologise wholeheartedly for this and believe that this extension offers sufficient time for people to resubmit their input.”
Edinburgh Airport Watch claimed the flight path plans were likely to affect some 300,000 in West Lothian, Falkirk and Fife.
It said since a new take-off route had been trialled last year, “intrusive and unwelcome noise from jet aircraft has had devastating and life-changing consequences for their health and quality of life”.