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Transport / Plans to expand London service on hold as Loganair looks to improve reliability of existing routes

Photo: Ronnie Robertson

PLANS to introduce another flight linking Sumburgh, Dundee and London Heathrow this summer have been put on ice as Loganair looks instead to improve resilience in its network.

The airline’s chief commercial officer Luke Lovegrove told a meeting of the Shetland External Transport Forum on Tuesday that “we are not where we would like to be” when it came to figures for on-time performance in 2023.

As a result he said the airline is not looking to add any additional services in the meantime and instead will be focusing on improving its resilience and therefore its performance.

In December now-departed Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said the one-plane Sumburgh-Dundee-Heathrow service was due to expand to three flights a week in the summer with a new Sunday trip.

However Lovegrove told Tuesday’s meeting that this is no longer planned for summer 2024, despite the demand being there.

He said the airline wants a “superior on-time performance” before adding additional flying.

The meeting heard that the on-time performance for Sumburgh flights in 2023 was 71 per cent. This was less than Loganair’s network-wide figure of 79 per cent.

Lovegrove said the issue with Sumburgh was that Loganair only uses ATR planes at the airport, which have suffered from global supply chain issues.

The chief commercial officer said there were 228 cancelled Sumburgh flights in 2023, which represented 5.1 per cent of all services.

He said 85 of these cancellations were due to factors under Loganair’s control.

Lovegrove said the aim is to get the on-time performance up to 85 per cent later this year.

He also told the meeting that there has been a delay in three new ATR planes being delivered and put into service, with the first due to arrive later this month.

Meanwhile Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson said she felt Loganair still has some way to go to improve its reputation in the community when it comes to reliability – something echoed by fellow elected member and forum chair Moraig Lyall.

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