Islanders wanting to fly from Sumburgh to London could potentially save over £100 by booking with British Airways rather than new franchise operator Flybe, according to Shetland MSP Tavish Scott.
When Loganair’s franchise with BA ended and Flybe took over, the airline set up a “code share” agreement with BA allowing people to book fights through the BA booking system if they are flying on Loganair’s Highlands and Islands services and on to connecting BA flights to London and beyond.
Mr Scott said a constituent had informed him that fares for flights between Sumburgh and London, via Inverness, on a particular date came to £435 on the Flybe website but only £300 – going through Aberdeen – on BA’s. He said it was possible that on some dates the reverse could be true but it was well worth comparing the two sites prior to booking.
He said: “Given the lottery that booking flights can now be, it could be that on some days it will be cheaper to go by Flybe than by BA. But it is clear that it is worth checking both options before booking. So everyone should remember that, although the Loganair planes now fly with Flybe paintwork, Loganair still offers the option of booking through flights on the BA system.”
Echoing calls from local businesses and tourism chief Andy Steven toward the tail-end of last year, Mr Scott said more needed to be done to make islanders and would-be visitors to Shetland aware of the fact that they do not have to book with Flybe for trips beyond Scotland.
“I have flagged up this issue with Loganair, asking them whether they can publicise the BA option,” he said. “I can well understand that someone in the south thinking about a trip to Shetland and comparing the cost to other destinations might be put off by £435 but be prepared to pay £300. So this is an important issue for our tourist industry.
“I would certainly recommend that any Shetland tourist operator asked for advice on travel to Shetland should make sure that they give both options and advise shopping around.”