Orkney MSP Liam McArthur and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott today met with Maurice Boyle, Operations Director at Loganair, who was appointed in November 2015.
Despite recent investment by the airline, lifeline flights operated by Loganair have continued to suffer from ‘technical’ faults and extended delays. The Northern Isles MSPs therefore pressed Mr Boyle on a range of issues including the detail of front line investment in services, communications with passengers facing delays and the nature of on-going technical faults.
Following today’s meeting, the Northern Isles MSPs will visit Loganair’s ‘spares hub’ at Glasgow Airport which has been established to better supply parts for the aircraft. Mr Boyle also agreed to look at specific ways in which communications with passengers can be improved, particularly in the event of delays and disruption.
Mr Boyle has also agreed to the request from Mr McArthur to re-establish Orkney’s ‘Air Services Key Users Group’ as well as to meet regularly with both Northern Isles MSPs over the coming months.
Commenting after the meeting, Liam McArthur MSP said:
“Making the case for improved reliability of our lifeline air services has been one of my priorities over the last three years, and will remain my priority as we start 2016. I therefore welcome Mr Boyle’s confirmation again today that this is Loganair’s top priority as well.
“I recognise that investment has been made by the company, but we are still not seeing the benefits of this in terms of improved performance. The new ‘spares hub’ in Glasgow and recruitment and training of engineering support are steps in the right direction, and I look forward to visiting the Glasgow site and speaking to the Head of Engineering later this month. This will provide a clearer picture of what is happening to improve reliability.
“As well as reducing the number and frequency of technical faults, Loganair also need to address failings in the way they communicate with passengers. This is particularly the case in the event of delays and disruption. I am therefore pleased that Mr Boyle has agreed to look at this specific issue and see what can be done to improve the situation.”
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said:
“In recent days we have seen Loganair profits increase but still no increase in reliability for our lifeline air services. Indeed, one of the key problems with our lifeline air services, not disregarding lengthy delays and technical faults, has been the painful lack of communications for customers using the service. I have heard this time and time again from constituents, a point I was forceful with today.
“Mr Boyle’s commitment to improve Loganair’s reliability is therefore welcome news. I understand steps are being taken and I look forward to seeing first-hand the engineering work Loganair is undertaking at their spares hub" at Glasgow Airport later in the month, particularly the much needed refurbishment work to the saab fleet.
“It is vital that islanders have confidence that Loganair is doing all it can to cut out technical faults and build a service that will consistently fly on time. I therefore look forward to meeting again with Mr Boyle to ensure that improving reliability remains his top priority.”