Orkney MSP Liam McArthur used First Minister’s Questions today to urge the First Minister to make direct contact with Loganair amid a further loss of public confidence in the reliability of services.
Mr McArthur’s question followed news yesterday that another Loganair flight, this time travelling from Glasgow to Sumburgh, was forced into an emergency landing at Aberdeen. A full emergency was declared at Aberdeen International Airport after the plane reported a technical problem. Thankfully n-one was hurt.
This incident followed a similar one last week, involving a flight from Manchester to Inverness and is the latest chapter in a long running saga of problems affecting the airline.
Speaking in the Chamber today, Mr McArthur said:
“For those of us living and working in the Highlands & Islands, Loganair is the only provider of scheduled air services. They are a genuine lifeline for many businesses, patients travelling to hospital appointments as well as the wider public.
“Yesterday yet another Loganair flight was forced to make an emergency landing – the second in less than a week. I know the Transport Minister takes this seriously, but given the lifeline nature of these services, will the First Minister now agree to make direct representations to the airline?
“Will she agree to meet or speak with the Chief Executive of Loganair to reiterate the need to get the current problems sorted? And will she stress again that regaining public confidence in the reliability and safety of these services must be the number one priority?”
In response, the First Minister confirmed that as well as asking her Transport Minister, Derek Mackay to keep Mr McArthur and other Highlands & Islands MSPs informed of his discussions with Loganair, she would make direct contact with the company to make clear her expectations.
Commenting after the exchanges with the First Minister, Orkney’s MSP said:
“Air services to and from the Northern Isles are a vital lifeline link. That is why the on-going disruptions are causing so much frustration and anger locally.
“Time and again I have met and spoken with Loganair senior management, and I know that they take this matter seriously. However, with each passing week the situation shows no signs of getting better. Indeed, the recurrence of emergency landings has only served to heighten concerns amongst members of the public.
“It is therefore welcome that the First Minister has agreed to personally make representation to Loganair. It is essential that efforts are re-doubled in order that public confidence in our vital lifeline links can be restored.”
Please sign Liam's petition here http://www.liammcarthur.org.uk/fairflights