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Transport / MSPs quiz Loganair after disruption to flights

Airline offers an apology to passengers affected by delays and cancellations

Photo: Shetland News

LOGANAIR has offered its sincere apologies to passengers who have been affected by disruption to its services recently.

The scale of the problem prompted Shetland and Orkney’s MSPs to arrange a meeting with airline bosses, who said staff sickness was partly to blame.

Disruption at the weekend  – which affected some NHS patients – also involved maintenance overrunning, and further unrelated problems with two other aircraft.

Issues were compounded by an inability to secure operating hours extensions at both Sumburgh and Kirkwall airports on Monday night to enable the completion of the last roundtrip of the day to each destination.

Some of the disruption meant passengers bound for Kirkwall, who flew from Aberdeen, had to stay in Shetland overnight.

But there have been further reports of disruption over recent weeks.

Shetland News heard from one Shetland passenger who was around five hours late getting to Edinburgh last Tuesday when the plane broke down in Kirkwall.

He was then bumped off the return flight on Friday before getting a replacement trip on the Saturday morning, but that also suffered a short delay.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said Loganair – the only public air provider to the isles – “must look at their backup plans which need to be resilient to avoid major disruption”.

Speaking in response to the MSPs’ concern over disruption at the weekend, a spokesperson for Loganair said: “Unfortunately, like many other airlines, we have recently experienced cases of staff sickness which has impacted our ability to operate as scheduled on a handful of our services.

“While the impact of such has been lesser for Loganair, our service between Aberdeen and Kirkwall on Friday evening was regrettably cancelled due to such circumstances.

“To best manage the situation and ensure the best care for our customers, we split the passengers into two groups and the more vulnerable were accommodated nearby in Aberdeen, with a flight arranged early Saturday morning to transport them to Kirkwall via Sumburgh.

“Unfortunately, the flight from Sumburgh to Kirkwall experienced a technical issue which meant that the passengers were accommodated in Sumburgh overnight before being flown to Kirkwall the following morning.

“The situation was handled with the best intentions to get our most vulnerable passengers to Kirkwall as early as we possibly could however technical issues meant that was not possible.

“We are doing are very best to operate all services as scheduled under highly unusual circumstances at the moment but do offer our sincere apologies to all affected customers.”