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Loganair price rise is only 20 pence per newspaper”     8/4/13

Airline Loganair has queried claims that it increased air freight charges would mean it costs £6 per copy for each newspaper to the Western Isles.

Phil Preston, chief operating officer of Loganair, said: “We are surprised and mystified by the Scottish Newspaper Society (SNS) statement that the proposed increase in the price of our newspaper charter contract would have meant the cost of producing a newspaper for the Western Isles rising to ‘close to £6 per copy.’”

He highlighted: “The fact is our proposed increase would only have added about 20p per copy to that overall cost. The air freight is only one part of the overall supply chain to the islands and we can only surmise that the balance of the overall cost is down to other factors.”

Mr Preston said: “The dedicated freight charter service from Aberdeen to Stornoway and Benbecula, which we have been providing for SNS since the previous supplier Highland Airways went out of business, had become unsustainable at the previous cost.

“We would like to emphasise that, because of our long-term commitment to the Western Isles, we have been operating the contract with SNS at a heavily discounted rate for the last three years. The hope was that we could find customers who were looking to move freight by air on the return leg of the aircraft’s journey to Aberdeen.

“Sadly, no such customer has been found, and the cost of the empty return leg to Aberdeen was the major factor in the decision to propose an increase in the cost of the contract.

“We had been working to find an alternative distribution channel by air to Stornoway and Benbecula from locations where the newspapers are produced, including carrying newspapers on our passenger aircraft, but SNS has now decided to use the CalMac ferry service instead. That decision was outwith our control.”

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