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Airlines go head to head on isles routes

THE SHETLAND public now has the choice of five additional daily flight connections to Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow after Flybe/Eastern Airways went into direct competition with Loganair on Friday morning.

High airfares have been promised to come down as two airlines – who were franchise partners until Thursday – vie for the limited number of island customers.

As of Friday, Shetland will be served by as many as eight daily return flights to Aberdeen (three operated by Flybe and five by Loganair), Edinburgh can be reached four times (three Loganair flights and one operated by Flybe) and Glasgow twice.

Low budget airline Flybe will be using a single Embraer jet aircraft to serve all Sumburgh routes, leading to concern that any delay will have a knock-on effect on all its services operated that day.

The company’s chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener is hosting a business breakfast in the Sumburgh Hotel on Friday morning to mark the inaugural Flybe/Eastern Airways flight from Shetland.

The chairman of the local authority’s transport committee, Ryan Thomson, has previously expressed some unease as to the potential consequences should one of the airlines pull out of the routes.

On Thursday he added that the council would follow developments with interest: “Hopefully, the fact that there is competition on the route now will make the two operators out of Sumburgh viable, and hopefully it increase the amount of traffic on the routes.

“From an SIC point of view we will continue to monitor it and we will be continue having discussions with Loganair and Flybe.”

Some initial price comparisons show little difference between Flybe and Loganair. However, while Loganair’s fares include 20 kilo of luggage, Flybe charges at least an extra £22 for items in the hold.