Tag Archives: flights

Loganair Respond to Communities Fare Concerns

Over the last few months, Tiree Community Council has received copious amounts of comments and letters from members of the community, concerned about growing fare prices on the Tiree – Glasgow route, introduction of lower weight restrictions and lack of promotional deals available to Tiree customers.

Tiree Community Council have been actively communicating with Loganair representatives to get a response to the above complaints and Roy Bogel has now issued us with an update with regards to the pricing structure:

Thank you for your note. On every Loganair flight throughout our network, pricing relates to the expected levels of demand for the service. We continually adjust pricing in an effort to achieve sustainable route economics.

Although the Tiree service is a PSO, if our revenue falls short of the forecast we have submitted as part of our bid to fly the route over the four-year bid period, it is exclusively Loganair’s issue and we have no recourse to Transport Scotland for any such shortfall. As you may also be aware, the PSO provides for a £1 increase per year in the price of each of the five fare “buckets” we have available. This is wholly insufficient to keep pace with increases like Glasgow Airport and HIAL fees and charges, increases in maintenance costs on the Twin Otter aircraft and ground handling costs, before we even get to considering any cost of living increases for our own employees.

The increase in landing and per-passenger charges this year at Glasgow and Tiree airports amount to £1.43 per passenger before any other issues come into the equation. The result of this is that we are selling slightly fewer seats at the two lowest fares this summer than we did last year. Frankly, to cover the costs of the provision of the service, we can’t avoid it; and it is not something for which we should apologise.

With a limited increase of £1 per fare per year, it’s impossible to keep pace with the inflation of airport maintenance and ground handling costs that are an unavoidable consequence of providing the service. As already mentioned, airport charges amount to a £1.43 increase and the sum of the other costs is broadly similar. The PSO only regulates the maximum fare that can be charged, and it does not oblige any operator to offer a lower fare, let alone the range of lower fares that Loganair continues to provide.

To put this into context, we see a position where average fares paid by customers are around £3 higher than last year as a result of the changes – i.e. recovery of the extra costs but not a penny more. One could be forgiven for thinking that this had morphed into the Great Plane Robbery given the level of contention, but an average increase of £3 is the reality of what the change amounts to. We have kept a number of the cheaper fares available but the seats at those fares have now sold out for the summer ahead, and those seats remaining are at higher prices (but still well within the maximum permitted under the PSO).

I’d like to reiterate that the Saturday night stay requirements have not changed and have been in place on the lower fares for over 25 years, based on our archive of Loganair historic pricing information. It is not, contrary to opinion, a new or indeed recent change and it may well date back to policies in place well before 1992. It’s necessary to keep pace with the increases in cost of provision of the service and I can assure you that we’re only doing what we see as absolutely essential. Indeed, if we over-recover (and we’re not doing!) then any excess generated by Loganair is passed straight back to Transport Scotland under the PSO mechanism, so we have no incentive nor motivation to increase fares unduly as we stand to gain no benefit – and plenty of adverse comment – from doing so.

We remain firmly committed to providing the very best value that we can and firmly believe that we’re doing so this year.

To sum up the letter, Loganair have failed to acknowledge any sympathy towards increased fare prices and have explained that they are operating within their current PSO agreement.

The letter confirms that all cheaper fare brackets have now sold out for the summer ahead, suggesting to us that there are very limited ‘just fly’ tickets allocated to each flight.

Tiree Community Council is currently undertaking its handover period with the new Tiree Community Councillors and it is understood that the PSO document is due to be confirmed later on this year.

TCC will work on ensuring the next PSO agreement is more variable for the Tiree community and includes stipulations such that will address the current issues.

Tiree To Glasgow Flights Every Day

Tiree is to get an air service fit for the 21st century as the Scottish Government promises that two, rather than just one flight per day will extend over the next four years.

Dr. John Holliday, the island’s GP and Convenor of the Tiree Community Council said, “This is great news for Tiree! The extra flights will provide a step change in transport to the island, and will be a major boost to Tiree’s fragile economy. They will also be a considerable help for those needing to leave the island for specialist medical attention. “

Last November islanders voiced grave concerns about the lack of capacity on the air link between Tiree and Glasgow, particularly in summer months when increasing numbers of tourists travelled to the island. Islanders, who turned up in force to a public meeting with Transport Scotland last November, demanded a better air service which would cope both with tourism and increasing demand from local residents. Some islanders were having difficulty getting to Glasgow by air for hospital appointments and vital treatments, including cancer care.

Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands and Islands, has now confirmed that the minimum specifications of the Public Service Obligation (PSO) for the Glasgow to Tiree air service from October shall guarantee two flights a day Monday to Saturday all year around and a dedicated Sunday flight all year around, a significant improvement on the existing PSO specification for Tiree. Mr. MacKay said, “These air links are vital to the local economies of Campbeltown, Tiree and Barra and I want to make sure they are delivering the best service possible for the communities they serve.” He went on, “We are committed to supporting our remote communities and these improved air links will help do that”.

Tiree Community Council Vice Convener John MacCaskill added, “The Scottish Government listened to the Tiree community’s concerns and they are now delivering an air-service fit for the 21st Century for what is a remote and isolated Inner Hebrides isle. This will make a big difference to the social and economic development of Tiree. We were due to get a better service for this summer to cope with demand, but we now have an air service fit for purpose which has been extended for the next four years.”

The full details of the PSO Tendering Document for the communities of Barra, Campbeltown and Tiree will be released to the air industry on Tuesday 7th April 2015. The airline awarded the new PSO will run the air services to Glasgow from late October till the autumn 2019.

The hope now for the Tiree Community is that the airline awarded the new PSO will offer an early morning and late afternoon air service to Glasgow, particularly on weekdays, to maximise the potential of the much improved life-line air service.

Will We Lose The Saab 340

Saab 340 aircraft

At a meeting on Monday 6th December the Tiree Airport Consultative Committee (TACC) members agreed to contact the Scottish Government’s Transportation Division following revelations and recent press comment that the Government, through their asset owning agency Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), are planning the imminent purchase of two new Twin Otter aircraft from Canada for use on the Campbeltown, Barra and Tiree routes.

All three `lifeline’ routes are financially supported by the Scottish Government through a mechanism called `public service obligations’, or PSO’s for short. TACC members have learned that the Scottish Government Transportation Department Officials and Minister have already visited Barra to give assurances and to make promises to the public with regard to the future of the Glasgow to Barra air service.

While the Twin Otter has been an excellent aircraft for Tiree, and is apparently the only aircraft that can continue to serve Barra with the unusual beach take off and landing, members of the TACC felt that the needs of each island are quite different, as Tiree passenger numbers have steadily grown over recent years due to the introduction by Loganair/FlyBe on the Glasgow-Tiree route of the Saab 340. Resilience, and also the capacity to grow the Glasgow-Tiree service, should our route be served purely by the new Twin Otter aircraft, were two concerns expressed by TACC members.

Kenny Crawford, Head of Aviation Transport Scotland, has been invited to visit Tiree to discuss the island’s needs and to explain the Government’s proposals and vision for the future of Glasgow – Tiree PSO. He has agreed to come in the New year and has said that no decision on ordering aircraft will be made before 2012.

Any community group/s that have concerns regarding the Government proposals should make their views known to Ann Kirby at the Tiree Trust who will be coordinating a response to the Scottish Government’s Transportation Department.

Flights to Oban resume

Hebridean Airlines plane

Hebridean Air Services Ltd., based at Cumbernauld, has stepped in to resume the Oban based Argyll Air Services, following the closure of the previous operator of the service.

The same schedule is offered as the previously published winter timetable, and this timetable is printed on the Hebridean website www.hebrideanair.co.uk. George Cormack, Managing Director of Hebridean, has said that he is delighted to have won the contract, and is looking forward to offering an excellent service and maintaining these vital links to the Scottish Island communities of Coll, Colonsay and Tiree from Oban Airport. He is also re-employing the very popular and well respected pilot Julie Angell. Locally based Captain Angell has been the backbone of the operation to date, providing a service that is much appreciated by all her passengers. The flights from Oban include transporting pupils who attend Oban High School to their Island homes at weekends.

Flights are now on sale and can be booked by calling 0845 805 7465 (local rate). A new web-based booking system is currently under construction and will be available shortly. Hebridean Air Services are well placed to operate and maintain these essential air services from Oban, with a wealth of experience in their pilots and staff, and a world renowned sister aircraft engineering company, Cormack Aircraft Services Ltd., who look after all their maintenance needs.

Hebridean have been operating air charter flights throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland since 1995 with three Britten Norman Islander aircraft, and have flown an incredible variety of charters. As well as private and business hire, Hebridean are involved in medical and air ambulance flights, film and TV work, bird and wildlife surveys for SNH and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, telephone engineer contracts to the islands, golf tours and many other varied contracts.