Tiree flights halve amid Covid slowdown

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Loganair has temporarily cut daily flights between Tiree and Glasgow from two to one as the current Covid spike deters air travel.

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, flies to and from Tiree, Islay, Campbeltown, Barra, Benbecula, and Stornoway, with a network of more than 70 routes in Scotland, England, the Channel Islands, Belgium, Isle of Man, Norway, Ireland, Denmark and Germany.

This month Tiree Community Council heard that, given the low number of passengers currently travelling to and from the island, Loganair was asking the Scottish Government to cut the number of flights to one a day.

Convener Dr John Holliday said: ‘Loganair asked Transport Scotland if they could cut their afternoon flights between Tiree and Glasgow for the next few weeks, as forward bookings were very poor. This is put down to Omicron deterring travel and a quiet time of year.

‘Tiree Community Council was consulted as this is a subsidised service. We took soundings from the doctor’s surgery, the school and the airport, and asked for a retention of one double rotation to allow people to come to Tiree for the day. This has been granted. It’s a reduction in service, but we understand the circumstances and we need a financially healthy carrier. We are happy with the consultation process.’

At the meeting, a member of the public said the daily morning and afternoon flights allowed islanders to make hospital appointments in Glasgow without incurring the cost of an overnight stay.

A spokesperson for Loganair said: ‘Scotland’s entire transport network has reduced services during the current pandemic spike. Loganair has seen lower customer confidence translate directly into reduced travel demand during this challenging period.

‘For both environmental and economic reasons, we have reduced our schedule by one third for January and at this time, by 20 per cent for February. We expect and plan to resume a more normal level of service as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’re most grateful to all of our hard-working team members for their continuing efforts to deliver our planned services.

‘Glasgow-Tiree services will be maintained with a daily flight each morning – safeguarding the island’s Royal Mail deliveries and essential healthcare travel needs – together with an evening flight on Fridays only for the coming four weeks. We expect that the normal double-daily service will resume from March.

‘We have worked with Transport Scotland and the Tiree Community Council to establish this position and appreciate their understanding of the current situation impacting air travel throughout the UK as a result of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.’