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Business / Loganair boss steps down in surprise announcement

Former Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles.

THE CHIEF executive of Loganair Jonathan Hinkles has stepped down from his post with immediate effect.

The unexpected move coincided with yesterday’s (Thursday) announcement of the retirement of the airline’s longest serving pilot Eddie Watt and the last flight of Loganair workhorse the Saab 340 aircraft.

In an announcement on LinkedIn on Thursday evening, Hinkles said that after seven and half years at the helm of Scotland’s airline the time was right to change direction.

“I’ve always thought that when the curtain falls, it’s time to get off the stage right away. Earlier this afternoon and with the full agreement of Loganair’s board, I relinquished my responsibilities as Loganair’s chief executive and accountable manager,” he wrote.

“Running an airline is probably the most full-time job imaginable, and one which requires pretty much 24/7 attention in one shape or form. (…) It truly takes its toll.

“And so, after seven and a half years – a tenure longer than any other UK airline CEO bar one and also one of the longer-serving CEOs in Loganair’s proud 62-year history – it’s time for a change, just as much for me as it is for Loganair.

“It serves no-one well for there to be a prolonged period of farewells, uncertainty and indecision in leadership. With all that in mind, I left the building for the final time a few hours ago.”

During his time at the helm of Loganair Hinkles oversaw the transition from the Saab to the newer, larger and more efficient ATR aircraft, steered the company successfully through the Covid pandemic, and was regularly the target for criticism with regards to the airline’s often unreliable performance on the Sumburgh routes.

Local MSP Beatrice Wishart was one of the first to pay tribute to Hinkles and expressed her disappointment to see him depart.

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“I have always found him open and straightforward whenever we discussed issues affecting Shetland passengers on the lifeline air service, and I wish him well for whatever the future holds,” she said.

“Mr Hinkles steered Loganair through difficult times and kept the service running, not least through Covid-19. Pandemic recovery has not been easy, combined with the impact of Brexit and increasing costs. Passenger frustration over disruptive delays has therefore been understandable.

“I look forward to discussing ongoing issues with the interim chief executive and, in due course, his successor in the weeks to come.”

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