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Loganair axe Shetland flights from winter schedule

A Loganair Embraer 145.
A Loganair Embraer 145.

Loganair has axed Glasgow and Inverness flights from its Sumburgh schedule this winter as a result of continued low demand.

The last flights to and from Glasgow for a number of months is scheduled for October 26.

The Inverness service is also to stop from October 21.

Loganair said a limited schedule of Glasgow flights will be retained over the Christmas and New Year period in anticipation of increased demand.

Glasgow and Inverness services will resume as part of Loganair’s summer 2021 timetable from late March.

Hinkles recently confirmed that Edinburgh flights will also be shared between Orkney and Shetland for the coming winter season.

Winter is a traditionally quieter period for airlines, but with Glasgow and Inverness flights on hold, the only mainland destinations for Shetland flyers over the coming months will be Aberdeen or Edinburgh.

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.”

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson, who also chairs the isles’ external transport forum, said he had some concern over the suspension of links to the mainland.

He said: “We have had contact with Mr Hinkles, and while I can fully understand the reasoning and circumstances, there is 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 impacts 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 SIC transport planning with any details they feel important.”

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