Loganair introduces emergency timetable as coronavirus hits bookings

Loganair is reducing flights by half next month as it brings in an emergency timetable due to the impact of coronavirus.

The regional airline said forward bookings have fallen by around 75% compared to their usual levels in the last four days.

It will maintain “lifeline services” to the islands, but their frequency will be reduced.

From the end of next week, Loganair will reduce operations from around 214 to 95 scheduled flights each weekday – a cut of 55%.

The airline’s staff have also been asked to consider measures aimed at protecting employment levels, including reducing working hours by 20% and accepting a 20% reduction in salary as a result or taking a period of unpaid leave.

Chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The coronavirus situation has worsened materially in the last four days, and we have now seen forward bookings fall by around 75% versus their usual levels.

“From the end of next week, we will be implementing an emergency timetable which will reduce our operations from around 214 to 95 scheduled flights each weekday – a cut of 55%.

“We expect this to be a temporary reduction and we are implementing this until the end of May, but may have to extend that timescale as the situation continues to develop.

“The situation is incredibly serious and alongside the obvious health and safety implications, puts the future of the entire aviation industry in jeopardy.

“With this in mind, we have joined with other UK carriers to seek emergency measures from the Government to support all airlines in the sector.”

Loganair announced it would take on 16 routes flown by Flybe and hire some of its staff after that airline collapsed earlier this month.

Mr Hinkles said the plan to recruit former Flybe staff will continue, but with a delay to employment start dates.

Loganair said customers booked on flights up to the end of May can change their reservation without a fee to travel on a future date, though if future flights are more expensive the difference in fare will be payable.

Where services are completely suspended there will be a full refund.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on Tuesday that he and the UK Transport Secretary will discuss a potential support package specifically for airlines and airports in the coming days.