Loganair launches first east European flights for stranded offshore workers

Loganair's new jets have given it the range to operate the contracts. Picture: Loganair.Loganair's new jets have given it the range to operate the contracts. Picture: Loganair.
Loganair's new jets have given it the range to operate the contracts. Picture: Loganair. | Other 3rd Party
Loganair has operated its first flights to Latvia and Poland for key North Sea workers.

The Glasgow-based ­airline is providing new charter contracts to bring staff to and from Aberdeen.

It said these were worth a six-figure sum and it hoped more would follow after they end in mid-May.

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The workers are for both response and rescue and supply vessels serving oil and gas platforms.

The new flights started yesterday. Picture: Loganair.The new flights started yesterday. Picture: Loganair.
The new flights started yesterday. Picture: Loganair. | Other 3rd Party

Stranded workers were also flown home from Aberdeen.

Chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “Our Embraer jets shuttled essential workers from Gdansk and Riga to Aberdeen to keep shift changes running despite the disruption caused by coronavirus and suspension of scheduled flights on these routes.

“It’s another lifeline – of a different kind – for those reliant on air ­services through these difficult times.”

Loganair is also now one of the main airlines still operating from Scotland, including flying key supplies to the Western and Northern Isles, and providing ­services to English regional airports such as Manchester and Norwich.

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Before the Covid-19, the emergency response companies flew hundreds of Latvian and Polish seafarers to Aberdeen on a complex series of scheduled services.

Loganair charter services director Fiona MacLeod said: “The approach from these companies came out of the blue.

“They explained the current crews had been forced to work beyond their allotted month-long shift due to the lack of scheduled flights home and it was imperative their shift changeover be allowed to go ahead.

“We, of course, wanted to help, but that was easier said than done.

Negotiations with government chiefs

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“As we delved into the logistics of the service required, we had to engage in negotiations with the Ministry of Transport in Latvia and the Prime Minister’s office in Poland before we secured permission to fly to from Riga and Gdansk.

“That has now been done and we have permission to operate charter flights to and from both airports over the next month, with the obvious hope the arrangement will continue beyond that date whether or not the Covid-19 restrictions continue.

“Loganair has many years’ experience of flying oil and gas workers from Aberdeen to Shetland en route to their North Sea employment on both scheduled and charter flights and we well understand the industry.

“This latest contract is made possible by our recent acquisition of Embraer jets which greatly extends our range on the European mainland.

“We hope this contract is just the first of such new work beyond our previous extent of operations.”

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