Slow bookings see Loganair scale back schedule
Jonathan Hinkles: ‘we are fortunate’
Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles said the recovery in bookings is “incredibly slow” and the airline will reduce its planned schedule for July from 40% of flights to 25%.
Speaking in a Glasgow Chamber of Commerce webinar, Mr Hinkles, chief executive, said there are signs of improvement in bookings, but no clear trend.
He said he was concerned not to sound like he was repeating former Chancellor Norman Lamont’s famous, but flawed, forecast about seeing “green shoots of recovery”.
Some regional airports may not remain viable because of a tail-off in traffic and loss of ground handling staff, he said during an online update.
They will suffer from the absence of car parking and retail revenue but the Scottish government had helped by granting rates relief, something that English airports were looking at enviously.
He repeated his call for action on air passenger duty, describing the system of double taxation for domestic travellers as “bonkers”.
After acquiring many of the routes from the collapsed Flybe airline he said Loganair was described as the UK’s largest regional carrier, something that he felt “uncomfortable” about because it was by fortune than design.
“I do not take that on with much delight,” he said, stating that the company had retained 850 staff but could give no commitment on redundancies.
“We regard ourselves as fortunate at someone else’s expense, I make no bones about that,” he said.
“To get the economy going again it needs air travel,” he said, adding that passengers were accepting the “new normal”. The message needed to be conveyed to travellers that hygiene procedures were in place and working well.
He said there was evidence that some passengers would be willing to trade up to first class. “It can give them more space. In effect they are buying social distance.”