Loganair has announced plans for two new routes from Aberdeen, which will operate in direct competition with an existing Eastern Airways / Flybe partnership.
The Scottish carrier will launch up to three nonstop weekday services to both Newcastle and Norwich from September, including a nonstop Sunday service on both routes.
Eastern Airways currently operates both routes in a franchise agreement with Flybe, and Loganair said it was responding to “market dissatisfaction around Eastern Airways’ inability to deliver a reliable air service for customers in the North East”.
Loganair had itself previously operated flights under franchise agreements with Flybe until 2017, when it relaunched itself as an independent, “national airline for Scotland”.
Loganair said that UK Civil Aviation data showed that nearly a quarter of Eastern Airways’ flights between Aberdeen and Newcastle were cancelled in 2018, with a 65.5 per cent on time departure record (flights leaving within 15 minutes of scheduled departure).
The carrier said that the routes “are extremely popular with Oil and Gas workers who require dependable flights to get them to/from offshore rigs in the North Sea”.
Connections will also be available via Loganair’s Aberdeen hub to and from Orkney, Shetland, Oslo and Esbjerg.
Commenting on the news Kay Ryan, Loganair’s Commercial Director said:
“We’re delighted to be able to offer more choice to travellers between Aberdeen, Newcastle and Norwich. Data concerning the current operator’s reliability between Aberdeen and Newcastle has been rather poor, which is frustrating for customers given the importance of reliability on this route.
“Loganair is immensely proud to sit amongst the top of the league for large UK airlines’ on-time performance, with 82 per cent of services departing within 15 minutes of scheduled departure in 2018. Together with our rewarding Clan Loganair frequent flyer programme, we’re confident this will be welcome news to regular travellers and businesses in the region that depend on these air services.
“The schedule is constructed to offer maximum flexibility for those businesses and the offshore oil and gas industry and we’re looking forward to strengthening our network for the benefit of our customers”.
Eastern Airways launched a new Aberdeen-Newcastle-London City route in January, but this was dropped in April.
Business Traveller contacted Eastern Airways for a response to Loganair’s comments, and received the following:
Roger Hage, General Manager (Commercial & Operations) at Eastern Airways said:
“We note the new announcements by Loganair as part of AIL (Airline Investments Limited) and their additional placing of former group flybmi aircraft on long standing Eastern Airways routes.
“We however welcome competition and look forward to adding new services in the coming week as part of the Flybe winter schedule release ourselves in Aberdeen and intra-Scotland.”