Staffing Issues Led to Loganair Cancelled Flights

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit many services and business resulting in a knock on effect.

A number of operations at NHS Orkney’s Balfour Hospital had to be cancelled when Loganair were unable to provide a flight from Aberdeen to Orkney on Friday 8th of April. The passengers included the ear, nose and throat surgeon who was to operate in Orkney.

Last week hundreds of flights were cancelled at UK airports due to high rates of staff sickness due to Covid. All flights from the UK were cancelled on April 8th. There was also a surge in demand for flights as holidaymakers took advantage of the UK Government removal of restrictions put in place to limit the transmission of the virus.

The travel chaos continues as Covid rampages through the workforce with restrictions almost gone and with less testing taking place it is difficult to know the true extent of the virus spread. There has been a drop of 24% in the number of tests being processed in the UK.

In the UK as a whole over the last 7 days there were 297,072 new Covid cases reported: 2,531 Wales; 40,625 Scotland; 7.056 N Ireland; 246,860 England.

Yesterday, Wednesday 13th of April British Airways cancelled domestic, European and Mediterranean flights to and from Heathrow. And easyJet cancelled flights from Gatwick, affecting Edinburgh and Glasgow with destinations to Italy and Greece also hit. National World

Orkney Constituency MSP Liam McArthur, LibDem, held a meeting with senior Loganair management on Wednesday about the reliability of the islands lifeline air service.

Liam McArthur said:

“The experience of those passengers caught up in the disruption to flights back from Aberdeen to Orkney last weekend was wholly unacceptable.  That many were NHS patients, some very vulnerable, only made a bad situation all the worse.

“I made clear in the meeting with Loganair’s management today that not only will an apology and compensation be required, but lessons have to be learned, including improving communications with passengers.  Mr Hinkles and Mr Boyle agreed and confirmed that steps will be taken, including extending an offer to meet with those forced to overnight in Shetland last Saturday due to their plane breaking down.

“While this offer is welcome, what passengers really want is a lifeline service that is reliable.  Too often lately that has not been the case.

“Loganair’s management set out some of the reasons for this, but also made clear their determination to get the service back on track and build public confidence.  They also agreed to my request to re-establish regular meetings with key users of the service in Orkney.  These have been useful in the past in allowing an exchange of information and for problems to be identified early.

“I will be monitoring the situation closely over the coming months and would like to thank constituents who have been in touch to share their recent experiences of the service.”

Fiona Grahame

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