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Transport / Loganair cuts flight schedule as coronavirus impacts bookings

Airline to remove around 20 per cent of flights in April and May

One of Loganair's incoming ATR aircraft at Sumburgh Airport. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

LOGANAIR is removing a number of its flights across its timetable due to the impact of coronavirus.

The airline said it has seen a reduction in advance bookings of between 15 per cent and 20 per cent as the severity of the outbreak has developed.

Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said the “travelling public’s confidence has worsened” in recent days.

The company expects to cancel one fifth of its planned flights in April and May.

It has already cancelled around 700 flights so far, with more to come.

“The trend is visible throughout the Loganair network, and there are no signs of the hoped-for ‘staycation’ effect with people remaining in the UK for future planned holidays instead of travelling overseas,” Hinkles said.

“The effect at present appears to be short-term and is primarily hitting bookings for the remainder of March and through April and May.

“We have already taken action to remove around 10 per cent of our planned flights in April and May, amounting to about 700 flights in all, but with a greater deterioration in bookings since those decisions were taken last week, we are now about to embark on a further round of schedule reductions and I am expecting that a further 10 per cent of flights will be cancelled for April and May.

“We will work to provide as much notice as possible to customers when flight cancellations are made, and an alternative or a refund offered.”

Hinkles said that no island community served by Loganair would be left without an air service.

He said: “We recognise that there are unique considerations around Loganair flights being used to deliver island pharmaceutical supplies, fly blood samples to testing laboratories and a host of other dependencies on our services.

“We will do all that we reasonably can to take these into account when taking decisions around schedule reductions.”

Loganair flies to over 70 destinations across the UK and Europe, including Sumburgh Airport.