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Business / Loganair confident despite heavy losses in 2019/20

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles.
Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles.

LOGANAIR says it expects to report a “significantly narrowed loss” for the current financial year after posting losses of £12.7 million for the year to 31 March 2020.

Airline boss Jonathan Hinkles said the onset of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 cost Loganair almost £3 million while the industrial dispute by air traffic controllers at HIAL airport which ran through most of the 2019/20 financial year added a further £2.1 million.

The airline’s fleet replacement programme that saw the retirement of its older Saab 2000 and Dornier 328 turboprops plane led to a charge of £7.5 million, according the company’s audited accounts filed with Companies House.

Turnover, meanwhile, grew from £120 million to £169 million.

In March last year, Loganair took over a number of domestic routes following the collapse of Flybe and has now become the UK’s largest regional carrier with over 70 domestic services plus some to Ireland, Norway and Denmark.

Hinkles said the impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector was “very significant”, but thanks to new income from contract and charter flying as well as the UK Government’s furlough scheme expected better result for the financial year that ends today (Wednesday).

“In addition to our long-standing duties and responsibilities in the Highlands and Islands, we’ve also added new contracts in the oil and gas industry, and stepped in to safeguard 16 routes following the collapse of Flybe,” he said.

“We’ve flown record volumes of mail and cargo through our route network as well, highlighting the increased capacity of our new ATR72 freighter aircraft.”

He continued saying Loganair had managed to re-finance the company with the help of the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), which, he said, enable the company to “look to the future with confidence”.

“As the UK’s vaccine programme continues apace, we are already seeing modest signs of a recovery in bookings on domestic routes for the year ahead,” he added.

Loganair will resume services on several routes during April, with others following through May and June, the company said.