Loganair, Scotland’s Airline, today (Tuesday 9 January) announced a set of Pledges for Shetland to underpin its commitment to the isles’ external air services following the withdrawal of its rival from 8 January. Loganair, which has served the isles for over 50 years, will offer 158 flights every week to and from Sumburgh this summer – a 14% increase from its Summer 2017 timetable.
Pledges for Shetland
As part of a 10-point commitment specifically for Shetland to accompany the airline’s extensive and ongoing network-wide programme of customer service improvements, Loganair’s pledges include:
• Selling 50% of its seats on flights to and from Shetland at its four lowest fares;
• Ensuring low fares remain available on at least one flight to Aberdeen each day up to the day of departure or until the flight is fully booked;
• Adding extra flights at times like October break and UpHellyAa when flights book up a long way in advance, helping to keep fares lower for longer;
• Adding two more steps on the fare ladder on Shetland flights so that as flights book up in advance, fares don’t rise as far as fast;
• Retaining the popular “Rescue Fare”, now offered where the Aberdeen (and Orkney) ferry is unable to operate due to bad weather;
• Being a major employer at Sumburgh with 40 staff recruited and employed locally;
• Continuing its programme of community engagement in Shetland to support sporting, musical, cultural and youth events and development.
Introducing the airline’s new Pledges for Shetland, Loganair’s Managing Director Jonathan Hinkles said:
“Since Flybe’s announcement last month, we’ve listened and then worked hard to produce a meaningful response which we trust will provide strong reassurance to the Shetland community about future fares and seat availability.”
“During the recent head-to-head, fares were at unsustainably low levels and for every seat occupied on flights from Sumburgh in November and December, two more seats flew empty. It meant that a huge number of seats remained on sale at the very lowest fares, often right up to the day of travel. Several independent commentators agreed with our view from the outset that this wasn’t going to be sustainable and so it’s proven to be.”
“That said, we recognise that there will be questions in Shetland as to whether prices will now go back to where they were before, and some suggestions that prices may be higher than they were before. By making our new pledges, we’re aiming to ensure that lower fares remain available on our flights for longer.”
“At the same time, we operate all of our services to and from Shetland with no direct subsidy – unlike all of Shetland’s other external and internal transport links - and so flights have to be economically viable in their own right. Loganair’s pledges today are designed to balance that imperative with the needs of the community in Shetland and beyond.”
“We look forward to continuing our 50-year record of service in Shetland and to continue to listen, react and respond to the needs of the isles,” concluded Jonathan.
Complementing the new pricing policy set out in the pledges are service developments that will provide more seats and more flights to and from Sumburgh from late March.
Sumburgh-Edinburgh flights will increase from three to four per weekday from 26 March. The new timetable will include a new choice of morning departures from Sumburgh to Edinburgh at 07:40 and 09:25 each weekday, and a new choice of evening departures from Edinburgh to Sumburgh at 16:40 and 18:10.
“The choice of flights will be ideal both for those with onward connections from Edinburgh and those who have long journeys within Shetland to reach Sumburgh,” said Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Managing Director.
The Edinburgh timetable will also offer new capability for a day return to Lerwick for travellers starting their journey in the Scottish capital. Current flight times allow for less than two hours in Lerwick, so a new 07:25 flight north from Edinburgh and a later flight south at 18:50 will provide a practical working day capability in Shetland for the first time.
Larger 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft will fly one of the Saturday Sumburgh-Edinburgh and Edinburgh-Sumburgh services during the summer. Overall, Loganair will be offering 25% more seats between Shetland and Edinburgh in Summer 2018 than last year.
Glasgow flights are also in line for expansion. There will be a second summer Saturday flight using 50-seat Saab 2000s and an existing Sunday service will be flown by the larger aircraft too.
Delivering already on one of its Pledges for Shetland, Loganair has added extra services to its schedule for the October break in 2018. There will be additional flights – ten in all – to Edinburgh and Glasgow over the three weekends of the October school holidays, all operated by the larger Saab 2000 aircraft.
“With more flights and more seats to Edinburgh and Glasgow announced today, our new flights to Manchester and Loganair’s services to Aberdeen, Orkney, Inverness and Bergen, Shetland will enjoy a wide range of air services with Scotland’s Airline”, said Jonathan.
Loganair’s range of partnerships with major airlines including British Airways will be further expanded in 2018, further increasing worldwide connectivity for Shetland.