Airline Flybe is holding a public meeting in Stornoway on Wednesday in advance of
the company competing head-to-head with Loganair on its traditional routes.
Fierce rivalry on the Stornoway - Glasgow route has already seen ticket prices dropping.
Following a war of words with Loganair as well as intensifying the battle for passengers,
Flybe insists it is not simply cherry picking the most profitable routes but intends
to provide a long term service.
Loganair’s effective ten year monopoly on the vast majority of mainland to island
routes ends in just over a fortnight when it pulls out of a franchise arrangement
The Paisley-based firm will fly as an independent airline from 1 September.
But it was blindsided by its former partner with the shock declaration that Flybe
has joined up with Eastern Airways to compete on the busier routes.
Flybe’s chief revenue officer is in dialogue with the comhairle Western Isles Council
which fears the islands will end up worse if one operator gives up the fight and
Vincent Hodder will also face the public at an open meeting in Stornoway Town Hall
at 6pm tomorrow (Wed) night.
Loganair claims Flybe’s extra charges for bags and credit cards payments would mean
a “huge extra cost for passengers” and wipe out any headline savings.
Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles said: “We believe we are more competitive than any
other airline operating to remote communities, providing 20kg of free baggage with
every ticket, a range of tailored and discounted fares to meet community needs and
an unrivalled number of services between the country’s islands and mainland.”
Vincent Hodder believes there is room for two operators on the routes.
He said Flybe has long term plans for the island routes and can fall back on “much
more financial resources compared to Loganair.”
He says travellers without luggage have to fork out more with Loganair while all
Flybe charges are available on their website for transparency.
Mr Hodder explained: “Our model is based on choice for customers if they want to
fly as cheaply as possible.”
“Loganair say they have a better operation but they bound everything together.
“That means every Loganair passenger has to pay for the whole service whether they
want it or not.”
With the two airlines offering slightly different service then “each customer can
make their own choice regarding best value for their particular needs.”
“Each time they travel, passengers can compare both airlines for the best option.”
Loganair’s track record of serving the Western and Northern Isles for 45 years was
dismissed as “irrelevant.”
“The world changes and business models end. It is not relevant how long a company
has been in the market.”
It is about providing the “best service and cost” for the traveller.
In any case Flybe has been servicing island routes for the past decade, he added.
“If Flybe is so terrible why did Loganair operate under our brand for the last ten
Criticism over credit card surcharges are no longer important as fees will be cut
to 1% this month ahead of being scrapped under legislation in January.