THE CIVIL Aviation Authority has said it is confident that beleaguered Scottish airline Loganair is operating a safe service.
Their comments came as ministers in both Holyrood and Westminster moved to reassure air passengers it was safe to fly Loganair to and from Scotland’s islands following concerns raised this week by pilots.
Northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott raised the issue in both parliaments on Thursday after Shetland News published a leaked letter from the pilot’s association BALPA to Loganair management this week.
UK transport minister Robert Goodwill told Carmichael that the Civil Aviation Authority was aware of the difficulties Loganair was facing in its engineering department, but was not concerned about safety at the moment.
However he did assure MPs that he would be keeping the situation under review.
Afterwards, Carmichael was reported as saying that he was confident that passengers were safe to fly on Loganair, but more effort needed to made on reliability.
Earlier this week he had called on the CAA to implement an immediate review of Loganair’s aircraft and engineering services after the pilot’s letter was published on Tuesday.
Currently around one in four Loganair flights are delayed by ten minutes or more, largely due to technical faults, much to the growing frustration of passengers and staff.
Meanwhile Tavish Scott MSP urged Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay to meet with the CAA and Loganair during a Holyrood debate on the resilience of transport during the approaching winter.
Mackay replied that he had already met with the airline prior to the pilot’s letter being written last week, but promised to “revisit the issues” in light of the latest developments.
He said he had been reassured that “engineering interventions” were being implemented to improve reliability.
“I expect the highest standards in aviation in Scotland, which the CAA and others have responsibility over,” he said.
“I will revisit the issues of course in light of the concerns to make sure that what was committed to me regards the engineering and resilience improvement is actually being delivered.
“Safety is paramount and will not be compromised and of course all necessary regulations should be kept with.”
A CAA spokesperson said: “Aviation safety is our top priority and we ensure all UK registered airlines meet strict European safety standards.
“We work closely with Loganair and all other UK airlines on a continual basis, to provide safety oversight and advice. We can confirm that Loganair meets these European safety requirements.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman added: “The minister for transport and islands met Loganair officials on the 15th of September 2015 and sought assurances about the reliability of Highlands and Islands air services.
“Loganair officials accepted that their engineering support was not good enough and have embarked on a significant programme of improvements.
“We hope passengers will start to see the benefit of these changes as soon as possible.”
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