In a statement issued by Loganair the company has temporarily suspended flights to Inverness whilst the dispute between Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) and the trade unions continues.
Services from Inverness to Stornoway and Benbecula and from Inverness to Kirkwall and Sumburgh all suspended.
A spokesperson for Loganair said:
“We completely understand that this unprecedented step will be unwelcome news to communities who depend on the air services Loganair provides. It’s a step that we are taking with the utmost reluctance and only after careful consideration of all other options.
“We have sadly concluded that it’s simply not realistic to continue our efforts to provide services between HIAL airports when the action short of a strike is intended to disrupt and counter those efforts at every turn.
The suspension provides advance – even if unwelcome – certainty around which our customers can adjust travel plans, as opposed to facing the risk of on-the-day flight cancellations or significant delays. We hope that the period of suspension – initially through to 30 April – will provide time and space for the parties to this dispute to meet and reach a resolution, enabling these long-running services to resume thereafter.”
If your flight is affected, you will receive an email from Loganair advising you of your options.”
MSPs representing the areas affected have been quick to react.
Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP said:
“The air routes to and from Inverness from the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland are essential life line services that enable islanders to attend medical appointments, attend family emergencies and meet tight travel deadlines. To remove these routes in response to strike action by HIAL staff where they will work to rule is a complete over-reaction.
“Loganair instead needs to apply pressure on HIAL to get round the negotiating table, rather than on their customers in the islands who are already having to negotiate horrendous transport issues and have no influence in these matters.
“This reaction should make clear to HIAL that their staff go above and beyond what they are contracted to do to keep the airports running and that things would fall apart without their extra work which must be appropriately compensated and recognised.”
“HIAL must as a matter of urgency get back round the table with Unite and find a resolution to this dispute rather than allow our communities to be held to ransom.”
And Orkney Constituency MSP Liam McArthur, LibDem said:
“This is deeply disappointing news made all the more disturbing by the fact that these are lifeline services.
“After weeks of disruption, this is the last thing travellers need to hear. There is no doubt the suspension of these services will create even more problems for islanders looking to travel over the next couple of months.
“Given that HIAL is wholly owned by the Scottish Government, the Transport Minister needs to step in and bring the two sides together. Ministers have been involved in the pay disputes in the health and education sectors. The government needs to apply the same approach in relation to lifeline transport links.”
HIAL confirmed that he following airports will remain closed as a result of the strike action by airport fire service and security members of Prospect Union during March.
|8 March 2023||Stornoway||CLOSED|
|9 March 2023||Stornoway||CLOSED|
|10 March 2023||Benbecula||CLOSED|
|13 March 2023||Dundee||CLOSED|
|17 March 2023||Dundee||CLOSED|
The following airports will be open as normal during strike days throughout March:
- Wick John O’Groats
Kirkwall Airport will only operate inter-island flights on 10 March 2023.
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