News / Call for lifeline aviation support

Photo: Shetland News

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has expressed his hope that the UK Government will appreciate the significance of delivering lifeline services when it meets with Loganair management to discuss further support to the aviation industry.

Carmichael was reacting to comments from Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles on BBC Radio 4 on Monday morning which confirmed that the regional airline would be discussing government support from the Treasury in the next few days.

Speaking on the Today programme, Hinkles said: “I do think like the vast majority of UK airlines we will be going back to take up that invite for further conversation with Treasury in the coming days because we have to.”

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles. Photo: Shetland News

Speaking to Shetland News he added: “As a provider of lifeline air services, Loganair is unlike other many airlines in that we must continue to fly the lifeline routes on which our customers depend.


“It’s critical that we do so, and we believe we are well placed to be able to maintain those services throughout the current crisis. This position means we are unable to suspend our operations and furlough all our employees as other airlines have.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous effect on all UK airlines. The government has made it clear that it is open to specific requests for support from individual airlines and whilst Loganair has not yet taken up this invite as we explore all paths, we expect to join other UK airlines in doing so in the coming days given the unique position in which we find ourselves.”

The company has already secured a 100 per cent business rate relief from the Scottish Government over the next year as part of measures to support the aviation industry.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Loganair is running a skeleton service of essential flights over coming weeks and months as ticket sales dropped off dramatically due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this month Loganair took on 16 additional routes from regional carrier FlyBe, which collapsed on 5 March.

Meanwhile, easyJet has announced that it will be grounding its entire fleet for at least two months in response to

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

the collapse of air travel, while other major carriers have said that they would eventually need help from the state to survive.

Carmichael said: “The government needs to give serious consideration to community needs as it works with airlines in need of support. Cutting lifeline services would be a disaster for the isles as we recover from this crisis, risking long term harm to prosperity. We must ensure that these connections are protected.


“The Treasury demonstrated recently that they understood the importance of maintaining transport infrastructure when they took Northern Rail into public ownership.

“I hope that they understand that these lifeline services are as important to island communities as train services are to towns in the north of England.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart added: “The government must understand what a lifeline service means to a community like Shetland. The airline industry is not a one size fits all.

“A reliable and fit for purpose air service is absolutely essential for medical appointments, for businesses, for young people studying at university and a whole host other essential travel; all travel that will be needed once this crisis is over.”

Sumburgh Airport’s opening times, meanwhile, have been cut to allow the skeleton service to operate.

It will be open from 8am to 3.45pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm on Saturdays and 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Sundays.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.