Highlands & Islands

Flybe terminates contract with Loganair

Loganair flight Image copyright Loganair
Image caption Loganair will stop flying under the Flybe brand from August next year

Flybe is ending its franchise agreement with Scottish airline Loganair.

The move means Glasgow-based Loganair will stop flying under the Flybe brand from 31 August next year.

The Scottish airline operates on lifeline routes between the Scottish mainland and islands, including the Western and Northern isles.

Loganair, which has operated under franchise agreements for 24 years with other airlines, said it will operate in "its own right" from 1 September 2017.

The company, which also operates flights between Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee to airports in England, had a franchise agreement with British Airways from 1993 to 2007, and then from later in 2007 with Flybe.

Flybe said its decision followed "a failure to agree future operational standards and commercial arrangements".

Executive chairman Simon Laffin said: "Scotland is very important to Flybe, and we want to ensure that we serve our customers there to the highest standards, whilst delivering a return to our shareholders.

"We shall announce our plans on continuing to serve Scotland in due course.

"In the meantime our customers can travel and book tickets exactly as before, while any new arrangements will be put in place from September 2017 onwards."

'Greater autonomy'

Loganair said it was looking forward to operating under its own brand. The company said it was continuing to discuss with Flybe potential opportunities to work together in future.

Peter Simpson, chief executive of Airline Investments Ltd, Loganair's parent company, said: "Today's announcement is a major milestone in the 54-year history of Loganair.

"Although Loganair has flown as a franchise carrier for larger airlines over the last 24 years, there is still a huge level of recognition and affinity for the Loganair name throughout Scotland and beyond.

"We believe the time is right for Scotland's airline to now spread its wings once again, and are delighted to be introducing a bold new corporate identity to accompany this important move."

Image copyright Loganair
Image caption Jonathan Hinkles said Loganair is looking to adding to its services

Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair's managing director, told BBC Radio Scotland that the end of the franchise agreement would not change its route network.

He said Loganair was looking to add services and not being in a franchise would give the company "greater autonomy".

Mr Hinkles said: "The essence of a franchise is that you operate under another airline's brand and you do things their way.

"That hasn't always worked in our environment and while I think the franchise agreement we have had with Flybe over the last 10 years has worked well, there have been a number of elements of that, such as offering child discount fares and free bags to be checked in, that Loganair wishes to offer but don't fit comfortably with the Flybe brand."

Loganair said it would establish its own reservations system by March 2017 for flights on and after that date on its website.

Image copyright Loganair
Image caption Loganair has been revamping its fleet as part of wider improvements to its services

Shetland Islands MSP Tavish Scott said it was a positive announcement.

He said he hoped Loganair could go from "strength to strength" after taking action to respond to criticisms of the reliability of its services.

In March, the airline unveiled the first of its aircraft to be given a revamp as part of improvements to its operations.

Mr Scott said: "I strongly welcome Loganair's decision to fly under its own wings again.

"Flybe may have some advantages but their customer care is raised with me time and time again.

"So Loganair flying as Loganair means travellers know who they are and who is responsible for the service."

He added: "I want to see Loganair go from strength to strength in meeting the needs of island travellers and look forward to working with them on behalf of Shetland."

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