Following the news that Flybe is forging a deal with Eastern Airlines to bring new routes to Scotland, Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles has said he is extremely disappointed and surprised at the announcement.
He said: “We have been negotiating in good faith with senior Flybe staff about a continuing relationship to ensure that customers could connect from all of Loganair’s extensive Highlands and Islands network to the rest of the UK. Many of these connections will now be lost as a result of Flybe’s decision.”
He added: “Flybe is intent on challenging us head-to-head on a few of our traditional and established routes that make up our extensive network in Scotland, but we are Scotland’s Airline, and I can promise them that we are up for the fight.
“We’ve invested a huge amount in the infrastructure – engineers, ground handling, support staff – to provide our Highlands and Islands services and we’re here to stay.
“Although we’ve been flying as a Flybe franchisee on these routes for the last eight years, we have been serving these communities for over 50 years.
“In our various stations from the Western Isles to Orkney and Shetland and in our city bases like Aberdeen and Inverness, we have staff who know the importance of our services to local people.
“We will continue to offer best value and service to our customers including a free checked bag and no credit card payment surcharges on all routes.
“Flybe’s extra charges add at least £44 return for a bag and £6.95 surcharge to pay by credit card – a huge extra cost for passengers.
“To demonstrate the great value we offer, today by happy coincidence we launched a 20% off, seven day sale on 22 routes across our network.”
Mr Hinkles, concluded: “As we get closer to the date of our transition from franchisee to flying as a solo airline on September 1 with a continuing codeshare partnership with British Airways for connections to London and worldwide and a new relationship with bmi Regional for UK and Scandinavia connections, we are all very much looking forward to providing the highest standards of safety, punctuality and service synonymous with the Loganair name.”