Airline Loganair says it has made improvements over the last month – despite ongoing criticism of the lifeline service.
In a second open letter to Shetlanders, Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles said defiantly the airline was “moving in the right direction”.
However, Mr Hinkles admitted they still have “quite a way to go” in getting services to where they want them to be.
The CEO said that the number of Shetland flights operating on time increased to 69 per cent in May from 61 per cent in April, and that the number of flights impacted by “serious delay” or cancellation had halved.
He added: “All this says that we still have quite a way to go in getting services to where we all want them to be, yet overall, we are moving in the right direction.
“Even so, we know that if you were on one of those nine disrupted flights or another service that didn’t go on time, the statistics don’t make it any easier.”
The CEO said unprecedented travel disruption across the UK was having a negative impact on Shetland flights, citing how aircraft and crews are being significantly delayed by difficulties on the ground at airports.
“The whole system is running under severe pressure, and Loganair is one of six airlines directly engaging with the UK government on how to fix these problems.
“Distant though they may seem, unless we completely disconnect Shetland from the wider UK air network – which we don’t believe is in anyone’s interests – we can’t isolate Loganair’s Sumburgh flights from the effect of these issues.”
Mr Hinkles said Covid was continuing to cause absences locally as well.
“If we had a magic wand to resolve all of the issues that our entire industry is facing, we’d have waved it
long before now.,” he said.
“Clearly there isn’t one, even though that won’t stop us working flat out to restore the levels of punctuality and reliability that everyone rightly expects of us.
“There are many things across the industry right now that we can’t fix, but we will continue to do everything we can to look after our customers.”