Airport managers at Hial have backtracked on plans that would have seen valued air traffic control jobs moved from Dundee to Inverness.
After years of discussions with union Prospect, it has been decided posts will remain at airports such as Dundee, Stornoway and Kirkwall.
Hial (Highland and Islands Airports) chiefs wanted to centralise all air traffic control operations to Inverness.
The union fought the plans, citing economic concerns.
Air traffic controllers can earn between £58,000 and £73,000 a year, moving the jobs to Inverness would have hit communities hard, critics claimed.
There are around 10 air traffic controllers based in Dundee Airport. But the impact on rural island communities would have been even starker if the salaries move to Inverness.
Bosses at Hial have reaffirmed their plans to centralise the technology to Inverness. But now they have devised a method that sees the posts remain local.
Union chiefs hailed the decision as a victory, and will now ballot their members on the proposal.
What has changed with the plans?
Bosses at Hial promised earlier this year that air traffic controllers will no longer face a relocation to Inverness, but remained committed to some form of centralisation scheme.
The latest offer will still see the technology based in Inverness, but with staff able to operate it from their local airport.
Crucially, this means they do not have to move to Inverness in order to retain their job.
This option was aired by Prospect negotiator David Avery last year.
Lorna Jack, Hial chairwoman, said the decision was made after listening to feedback from “our colleagues and island communities”.
“This alternative delivery will provide enhanced safety and resilience to our operations and retain air traffic controllers on the islands.”
If Prospect agree to the plans, the next step will be a business case presented to Transport Scotland.
The contentious plans previously resulted in industrial action.
David Avery welcomed Hial’s “commitment to modernising air traffic control services in a way that works for staff, communities and the business”.
He added: “We look forward to working with Hial to bring through these modernisations.”