Northern Isles representatives, Alistair Carmichael MP, Liam McArthur MSP and Beatrice Wishart MSP have given their reaction to news that Loganair will be discussing government support from the Treasury in the next few days. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “I do think like the vast majority of UK airlines we will be going back to take up that invite for further conversation with Treasury in the coming days because we have to.” Mr Hinkles said that while Loganair has “been doing a lot of work both with our shareholders and all of our suppliers to try and minimise cost”, it was “about actually getting rid of payments” than deferring costs.
MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael said:
“The Government needs to give serious consideration to community needs as it works with airlines in need of support. Cutting lifeline services would be a disaster for the isles as we recover from this crisis, risking long term harm to prosperity. We must ensure that these connections are protected.”
"The Treasury demonstrated recently that they understood the importance of maintaining transport infrastructure when they took Northern Rail into public ownership. I hope that they understand that these lifeline services are as important to island communities as train services are to towns in the north of England."
Beatrice Wishart, MSP for Shetland said:
“The Government must understand what a lifeline service means to a community like Shetland. The airline industry is not a one size fits all. A reliable and fit for purpose air service is absolutely essential for medical appointments, for businesses, for young people studying at university and a whole host other essential travel; all travel that will be needed once this crisis is over.
“It is imperative that the Government offers all support it can to ensure that island air services are not permanently reduced.”
Liam McArthur, MSP for Orkney said:
“The coronavirus outbreak poses an existential threat to many airlines, including Loganair. Unlike other airlines, however, Loganair provides a vital lifeline link serving our island communities, a fact Ministers must have at the forefront of their minds when considering any application for support.
“The task of rebuilding our economy and our communities in the aftermath of this pandemic will be difficult and take time. That task can only be achieved by our island communities, however, if our lifeline transport links are safeguarded.”