Loganair returns to profit in first solo year

Scottish airline Loganair has today revealed that it returned to profit in its first full year flying solo following the end of its franchise partnership with Flybe.

Loganair MD Jonathan Hinkles with one of the carriers Embraer aircraft. Picture: contributed
Loganair MD Jonathan Hinkles with one of the carriers Embraer aircraft. Picture: contributed

The Glasgow-based carrier is back in the black with pre-tax profits of just over £1 million in the 12 months to 31 March, the inaugural financial year of operating under its own brand.

This marks a dramatic turnaround from results for the previous year, which saw the Scottish airline plunge to a pre-tax loss of almost £9m on the back of the break-up of its tie-up with Flybe.

Loganair also hailed a record annual turnover of almost £120m for 2018-19, a rise of 8.3 per cent from the previous year.

The group also benefited from the retreat of rival Bmi Regional ceasing trading, recruiting 140 of its pilots, cabin crew and engineers, as well as acquiring many of its Embraer jet aircraft, after BMI ceased trading in February.

Loganair’s pre-tax earnings are reported after non-recurring costs of £3.1m related to the introduction of Embraer jet aircraft and the associated expansion of its fleet to 43 plans during the first quarter.

The company said it has become the UK’s fifth-largest airline based on the number of flights operated on the back of this investment.

This expansion also facilitated the launch of new services from Scotland to Germany, Norway and Denmark and from Newcastle to Belgium and Norway in recent months.

Operating from its Glasgow Airport headquarters, with a further ten operating bases throughout Scotland and England, Loganair now has 840 staff, representing its highest-ever headcount –and it says it continues to have the highest proportion of female pilots in the UK.

Managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “We have every reason to be proud of our achievements in the last year, growing our routes in the UK and Europe, expanding staff numbers and expanding our fleet.

“In addition to new scheduled routes during the year, we also won a new contract to provide services for British Airways’ CityFlyer subsidiary, took over the operation of a corporate shuttle service for a major aircraft manufacturer linking its production sites and won a competitive tender to provide essential air services between the City of Derry and London.

“We have also expanded our codeshare and interline agreements with such major international airlines as British Airways, Turkish Airways, Emirates Airline, KLM, Air France and Qatar Airways, bringing benefits to customers who can fly with a single ticket between our destinations in the Highlands & Islands and hundreds of major cities worldwide.”

Hinkles warned of upcoming challenges for the aviation industry, including the five-fold rise in the cost of EU emissions trading carbon permits, which will add more than £1m to Loganair customers’ ticket prices each year.

Despite this, the airline has pressed forward with expansion plans in the early part of the new financial year, launching services to London Southend Airport from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Stornoway, along with the first commercial air services from Carlisle Lake District Airport in more than 25 years.