Loganair has suspended services from Shetland to Inverness and Glasgow as part of a series of changes to its winter schedule.
The airline says a limited number of Glasgow flights will be retained over Christmas and New Year. But it points to an overall drop in demand as a result of Covid-19.
Services on both routes are expected to resume as part of Loganair’s Summer 2021 timetable from late March.
Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “Changing flights and suspending routes is a step we do not take lightly, but where travel demand remains at less than half of last year’s levels due to the pandemic, we simply cannot fly near-empty aeroplanes to maintain a full schedule.
“Unlike other forms of public transport, Loganair’s services are operated on a commercial basis – if we carry no passengers, we receive no income.
“To safeguard the future of the remaining services, we have had to take action to adjust our schedule for the coming winter and plan to maintain our schedule from Sumburgh to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Kirkwall.”
But the transport partnership Zetrans is due to make contact with Transport Scotland to raise its concerns.
Chairman Ryan Thomson said: “We have had contact with Mr Hinkles, and while I can fully understand the reasoning and circumstances surrounding this decision, we have a concern about the suspension of air services to Glasgow and Inverness over the winter period.
“I’m fully appreciative of the unprecedented pressures on Loganair due to the substantial reductions in passenger numbers as Covid-19 continues to have an impact on people’s need to travel.
“However, the fact is that air services provide critical lifeline links to support public health and socio-economic well being. Therefore it is important that we engage with Scottish government and Loganair to discuss the sustainability of services over the winter and beyond.
“To help inform these discussions, it would be helpful if anyone who has been impacted by the schedule changes over the winter or has any concerns about the future of air services, contact myself, ZetTrans or Shetland Islands Council Transport Planning with any details they feel important.”