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Transport / Glasgow and Inverness services to be halted as Loganair introduces emergency timetable

Advance bookings across Loganair’s routes drop by around 75 per cent

A Loganair plane at Sumburgh. Photo: Shetland News

LOGANAIR has put in place an emergency timetable which will run until the end of May as a knock-on effect of the coronavirus, with some local services suspended.

The airline said that advance bookings across its network have fallen by around 75 per cent.

Among the changes in place for Sumburgh Airport is no Glasgow service until the end of May.

Inverness services are suspended until 31 May, with two daily services to/from Edinburgh via Kirkwall and two daily services to/from Aberdeen.

Loganair said that its emergency timetable across all routes will see 215 scheduled flights each weekday drop to just 95.

Customers booked on flights up to the end of May can change their reservation without charge to a future date.

If future flights are more expensive, the difference in fare will be payable. Customers on routes which have been suspended will also have the option of a refund.

As part of the emergency timetable, no overnight aircraft will be based in Sumburgh.

The launch of Loganair’s seasonal Bergen service has also been delayed until mid-June.

The airline has also temporarily suspended its cabin service in an effort to “eliminate extraneous interaction between people”.

Chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The coronavirus situation has worsened materially in the last four days, and we have now seen forward bookings fall by around 75 per cent versus their usual levels.

“From the end of next week, we will be implementing an emergency timetable, which will reduce our operations from around 214 to 95 scheduled flights each weekday – a cut of 55 per cent.

“We expect this to be a temporary reduction and we are implementing this until the end of May but may have to extend that timescale as the situation continues to develop.

“Importantly, we will maintain lifeline services to the island communities we serve but will be forced to do so with reduced frequency.

“The situation is incredibly serious and alongside the obvious health and safety implications, puts the future of the entire aviation industry in jeopardy. With this in mind, we have joined with other UK carriers to seek emergency measures from the government to support all airlines in the sector.”

Hinkles also revealed that Loganair staff have been asked to consider a series of measures aimed at protecting employment levels – including reducing working hours by 20 per cent and accepting a 20 per cent reduction in salary as a result or taking a period of unpaid leave.

“We are working hard to avoid redundancies and lay-offs as have already been seen at major international airlines and as are likely to follow at several UK airlines in the coming days,” he said.

Chairman of Shetland’s transport partnership councillor Ryan Thomson said it is “obviously unprecedented times for Shetlanders looking [to or] needing to travel”.

“It is clear businesses are not designed to cope with a global pandemic on this scale,” he said.

“ZetTrans will maintain dialogue with Loganair and all transport operators operating services to and in Shetland and work together to combat any and all issues which have arisen so far, and may arise in the coming weeks and months ahead.”