Coronavirus: Loganair to halve Highlands and Islands flights after 75 per cent bookings slump

Scottish airline Loganair is to halve its flights after 75 per cent cut in bookings because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Loganair provides the main air links to the Highlands and Islands.
Loganair provides the main air links to the Highlands and Islands.

The Glasgow-based carrier said the “dramatic” fall in bookings had prompted it to accelerate the reductions from a planned 20 per cent cut until the end of May.

Flights between Kirkwall, Sumburgh, Inverness and Glasgow will be suspended along with 12 other routes.

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Staff will be asked to cut their hours by 20 per cent and ten of the airline’s 40 aircraft are to be put into storage.

Chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The coronavirus situation has worsened materially in the last four days, and we have now seen forward bookings fall by around 75% versus their usual levels.”

“From the end of next week, we will be implementing an emergency timetable, which will reduce our operations from around 214 to 95 scheduled flights each weekday – a cut of 55 per cent.

“We expect this to be a temporary reduction and we are implementing this until the end of May but may have to extend that timescale as the situation continues to develop.

“Importantly, we will maintain lifeline services to the island communities we serve but will be forced to do so with reduced frequency.”

“The situation is incredibly serious and alongside the obvious health and safety implications, puts the future of the entire aviation industry in jeopardy.

“With this in mind, we have joined with other UK carriers to seek emergency measures from the Government to support all airlines in the sector.”

Mr Hinkles said passengers could change their reservation without charge unless the new flight was more expensive.

Full refunds will be made where services are suspended.

Passengers were urged to change their bookings through the airline’s website because it was “experiencing exceptionally high call volumes into our call centre”.

He said staff had been asked to consider reducing working hours by 20 per cent with a 20 per cent reduction in salary for taking unpaid leave.

Mr Hinkles said: “We are working hard to avoid redundancies and lay-offs as have already been seen at major international airlines and as are likely to follow at several UK airlines in the coming days.”

However, plans to recruit former Flybe staff for the routes Loganair is taking over will continue, although their start dates will be postponed.

Highlands and Islands flight changes

· Barra: No change.

· Benbecula: Two Glasgow flights per day shared with Stornoway on a circular basis.

· Campbeltown: Twice-daily Glasgow Saab 340 flights shared with Islay.

· Islay: Twice-daily Glasgow Saab 340 flights shared with Campbeltown.

· Kirkwall: Inter-isles services unaffected. Two daily Edinburgh services continuing to Shetland. Two daily services to/from Aberdeen. Glasgow and Inverness services suspended until 31 May.

· Stornoway: Two daily jet services to and from Glasgow shared with Benbecula. Two daily Saab 340 flights from Inverness. Edinburgh services suspended until 31 May.

· Sumburgh: Two daily services to/from Edinburgh via Kirkwall. Two daily services to/from Aberdeen. Glasgow and Inverness services suspended until 31 May. Launch of seasonal Bergen services delayed until mid-June.

· Tiree: No change.

· Wick: Services will cease on 27 March.

UK routes

· Aberdeen-Birmingham: Reduced timetable of one to two flights per day

· Aberdeen-Manchester: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Aberdeen-Norwich: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Dundee-London City: Reduced timetable of one flight per day (evenings)

· Edinburgh-Cardiff: Shared service with Exeter

· Edinburgh-East Midlands: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Edinburgh-Exeter: Shared service with Cardiff

· Edinburgh-Norwich: Services suspended completely until 31 May

· Glasgow-Exeter: New route suspended until 31 May

· Glasgow-Southampton: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Inverness-Birmingham: New route suspended until 31 May

· Inverness-Manchester: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Newcastle-Aberdeen: Reduced timetable of two flights per day

· Newcastle-Southampton: Reduced timetable of one/two flights per day

· Newquay: Launch of services delayed from all points including Edinburgh until 28 May.

International routes

· Flights to Dusseldorf, Esbjerg, Stavanger, Bergen and Haugesund all suspended due to movement controls.

· Glasgow-Donegal, Inverness-Dublin, Carlisle-Dublin suspended from 23 March until 31 May

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