25th September 2018
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Flybe to go up against Loganair in direct competition for flights

Flybe is entering into direct competition with its outgoing partner Loganair by offering services to and from Sumburgh.

A new five-year partnership will see flights being offered between Shetland, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow following an agreement signed with Eastern Airways.

It comes just six months after an announcement that Loganair and Flybe would go their separate ways this September following an end of their long-standing franchise agreement.

The agreement will see Eastern provide four aircraft under the Flybe brand in a joint revenue and risk sharing agreement.

The obvious hope for customers is that the decision to offer competition will lead to better pricing. The 50 per cent air discount scheme will still be made available to passengers from the isles.

Chairman of the council’s environment and transport committee, Ryan Thomson, welcomed the news.

“It’s absolutely fantastic news for Shetland – for folk who are commuting, and for Shetland overall.

“It’s good for our tourism, and it’s going to be a unique situation for Shetlanders having to shop around for the cheapest price.

“Competition on the Shetland route can only be a good thing, and I do hope that it leads to cheaper fares and helps drive down  he fares for those who are travelling to and from the islands.”

The announcement has not been universally welcomed, however.

Loganair’s managing director Jonathan Hinkles voiced “disappointment and surprise”.

“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 said Flybe was intent on “challenging us head-to-head” on a number of its traditional and established routes.

“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.”

9 comments

  1. Pete Leigh

    Why is it so expensive to fly in to Sumburgh?
    We can fly from Birmingham to Aberdeen for £40 but the hop onto Sumburgh costs three times more!

    Reply
    • Gabriel Cocuti

      Because they are very gready.
      Im sure that the airport taxes in Sumburgh are not higher than in Glasgow, Aberdeen or any other airport in UK.
      They are just gready, and there is no competition, so they can ask as much as they want.

      Reply
      • David Gibson

        Not sure. Unique operations such as in the Scottish islands are more costly for a variety of reasons. Generally the type of aircraft that can safely operate into Sumburgh are smaller, 30-50 seaters. An airline using a 737 around Europe can spread operating costs over 180 seats instead of 30. This is why it might cost us less to fly to Spain to sip on Sangria than to eat shellfish in Sumburgh.

    • Rennie Gardner

      Prices will reflect, in part, the lack of competition to date if not the cost of running older planes!

      (Would welcome more reliable, efficient, quieter aircraft if true competition prevails……)

      Reply
  2. John Irvine

    It seems to me that Flybe took a lot of the blame for past faults when Loganair was maybe equally culpable.

    Adding competition like this could be good news for commuters and help reduce the cost of fares.

    Reply
  3. Raymond Chisholm

    These routes are expensive to operate and will not support competition on an ongoing basis. Consumers will enjoy lower fares whilst the competitors battle it out for the inevitable monopoly, then their shareholders will seek to recover their losses.

    Reply
    • Ken Beer

      I think you are right, Raymond. Flybe’s intervention makes sense if the confidential business plan is to weaken Loganair and then take it over.
      Ken Beer

      Reply
  4. leslie sinclair

    Bring it on. Competition and cheaper fares are needed for islanders and people who want to visit Shetland.

    Reply
  5. Ian Campbell

    Having flown up and down the East Coast of the UK for work and had very little option apart from Eastern Airways, I would not get too excited about cheaper fares just yet!

    Reply

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