Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has called on Loganair and Flybe to protect and enhance flight connections to and from the islands when their current franchise agreement comes to an end in September.
Mr McArthur held meetings today (18 July) with senior representatives of both airlines, who were in Orkney to update stakeholders on their plans following the end of the franchise agreement that has been in place since 2007.
Flybe, in conjunction with Eastern Airways, has announced its intention to compete with Loganair on a number of routes serving the Northern Isles, including between Kirkwall and Aberdeen.
Speaking after the meetings, Mr McArthur said:
“Competition on these routes may deliver improvements in terms of cost and availability, but it must also safeguard the level of service we already receive.
“Good onward connections are a critical part of these lifeline services. From my discussions today, I remain unconvinced that all the current connections will be as good or even available at all after the franchise agreement between Loganair and Flybe ends in September. That is a real concern for constituents and others who rely on being able to fly those routes regularly.
“I have urged Loganair and Flybe to look at reaching a deal that would allow those connections to be maintained. This could involve a specific codeshare or interline arrangement covering certain routes, which still allows both airlines to continue competing in other areas.
“Such a deal would be in the interests of passengers, our island communities as well as the airlines themselves. Hopefully Loganair and Flybe will take heed and respond positively”.