Loganair is to add three extra return flights a week between Sumburgh and Edinburgh to its schedule for the summer months – and is also introducing a direct air link between Aberdeen and Cardiff.
There will be three flights a day to the capital city on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between June and September, with the additional flights departing Sumburgh at 11.30am and returning from Edinburgh at 1.30pm, while non-stop flights to the Welsh capital will commence on 19th April.
The moves, announced in conjunction with franchise partner Flybe, come as the two firms say they are seeking to take advantage of domestic tourism with the anticipation that many Britons will holiday at home during a time of economic recession. They are also hoping that the poor performance of the pound will increase the attractiveness of the UK for tourists from Europe and North America.
Loganair chief executive David Harrison said on Monday: “We are delighted to announce a significant expansion in our operating network with new routes, additional services and improved departure times between some of our most popular Scottish destinations.
“At Loganair we are constantly seeking to improve our service and, with Flybe, today’s announcement is another step towards ensuring our passengers get the quality service they have come to expect from Scotland’s airline at a competitive price.”
Loganair previously announced that it would be expanding the Sumburgh-Bergen route this summer, with three flights a week to the Norwegian city between June and August.
Allan Wishart, chairman of Shetland’s transport partnership ZetTrans, welcomed the additional flights. “I think it’s positive news really and I would think it’s in response to demand and it shows they are taking note of that and moving accordingly.”
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and his Orkney counterpart Liam McArthur, meanwhile, say they are continuing to lobby Loganair because of continual anecdotal evidence that there have been fewer cheap rate fares available since Flybe took over the franchise from British Airways last October.
The politicians have received copious feedback – which is then passed on to Loganair – that even people booking months in advance are unable to find cheaper fares, but the airline has continually refused to answer questions about the proportion of cheap seats available on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.