Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has raised the issue of Loganair pilots’ concerns about the reliability of the services to the Northern Isles in Parliament.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael asked the Minister:
Last week, the British Airline Pilots Association wrote to the management at Loganair, which operates air services throughout the highlands and islands, about its concern that aircraft are being returned to the line despite being unserviceable. It said:
“In some cases aircraft retain defects that clearly affect flight safety and in others have restrictions placed upon them which render the aircraft effectively unusable in our operating environment.”
These are lifeline services to some of the most economically fragile communities in the country. What can the aviation Minister do to ensure, either through his Department or the Civil Aviation Authority, that our local communities can retain full confidence in these crucial services?
Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill, replied:
I regularly meet BALPA; indeed, its general secretary, Jim McAuslan, is a good example of how unions can work with Government to promote their members. Safety is our top priority for air travel in the UK, and all our airlines have to meet strict safety maintenance requirements. Compliance with these requirements is overseen by the Civil Aviation Authority. I understand that the CAA is aware of Loganair’s recent difficulties, but is satisfied that the company is operating safely and maintaining its aircraft in accordance with the necessary safety requirements. The matter will, of course, be kept under review.
Commenting afterwards, Mr Carmichael said:
“I know from both his answer today and from other discussions I have had with him that the Aviation Minister and the Civil Aviation Authority are monitoring closely the position concerning Loganair and their engineering operations.
“This, I hope, will give some confidence to local people and visitors that air services within the highlands and islands are safe but need more effort to improve reliability.”