Loganair has announced further flight schedule reductions – following government measures brought in at the beginning of the week to tackle Covid-19.
A “skeleton schedule” of essential air services will operate within Scotland – the company said – to and from the Isle of Man and on two routes supporting critical workers in the offshore industry at Aberdeen.
The only Loganair flights coming in or out of Sumburgh Airport from Monday 30th March until at least 20th April will be those from Aberdeen and Kirkwall – all other flights are suspended.
The company said services will be maintained on a limited timetable on the following routes, with a with a minimum of six weekly flights (daily except Saturday) planned:
· Isle of Man-Liverpool
· Isle of Man-Manchester
· Orkney inter-isles air services
· Dedicated flights operated for Royal Mail and the oil & gas industry
Loganair said it expected to ground approximately half of its 44 aircraft in the coming days and has advised its staff of the probability of furlough under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.
Loganair said services were planned to resume on a selection of key routes from 20th April and others from 31st May, “but these dates will be subject to further review depending on the prevailing national circumstances and consequent demand for travel”.
“The services provided in the meantime will be to facilitate travel only for those with an essential need, such as workers in designated critical professions and others covered by the latest government advice. We have worked closely with the Scottish government to determine those services which will remain in place.”
Customers booked on routes which have been suspended or cancelled will be entitled to a refund of their ticket. Customers who wish to defer their travel plans or are unable to travel will be able to change their bookings without the usual change fees for a future date, or put flights “on hold” for up to six months via the “Manage my Booking” tab at www.loganair.co.uk.
Loganair’s call centre is operating with reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements to safeguard staff, with the company asking customers not to call unless to discuss immediate travel needs in the next 72 hours.
Customers on flights which have been cancelled or rescheduled will be notified, the company said.
The airline said it was “also working to keep abreast of impending closures of several airport terminal facilities and to ensure contingency plans are available to continue to deliver these services even if the usual airport terminals are not available to accommodate customers”.
Efforts are also underway to protect essential carriage of pharmaceuticals, mail, newspapers and other consumer goods, which are reliant on the airlines’ services in the Highlands and Islands.
Loganair’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The challenges that we’re all facing in everyday life are evolving by the day, and we are having to work through a whole host of disparate issues to maintain services for those with a critical need to travel, or indeed the many island communities totally reliant on Loganair to deliver their daily essentials.
“I’m proud of the work that so many of our team are doing right now to keep vital air routes open, without which our communities would be in severe difficulty. The tremendous team spirit in evidence throughout Loganair is providing all of us with confidence to tackle the challenges that undoubtedly lay ahead.”
“Throughout all of this, safety will remain our absolute priority – whether that of our staff or our customers, or indeed the daily focus to assure that each and every Loganair flight is conducted safely.”