Loganair seeks to take over Derry to London flights after flybmi collapse

Saving the London Stansted route could secure future of Derry airport

Loganair is interested in operating the Derry to London Stansted route.

Loganair is interested in operating the Derry to London Stansted route.

 

Scottish regional airline Loganair has expressed an interest in operating the Derry to London Stansted route following the collapse of Flybmi.

The carrier said on Monday it is awaiting details of the tender process relating to the route which is operated as a public service obligation (PSO) – a status that means the state can compensate an airline for operational losses made on a route of economic importance to the region.

“Loganair has an extensive track record of providing PSO services, and a strong understanding of the Derry market. We look forward to receiving details of the tender process as soon as possible,” a spokesman said.

The collapse of Flybmi on Saturday left the City of Derry Airport (CODA) without one of its core routes. The carrier partly blamed its demise on the “uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and [a] lack of confidence around BMI’s ability continue flying between destinations in Europe”. It employed 376 staff.

Only two airlines, Ryanair, which operates flights to Liverpool and Edinburgh, and Loganair, which flies to Glasgow, now service CODA.

Donegal links

As recently as last week, the UK government confirmed that it would continue to subsidise direct flights between Derry and London until May 2021 – a move that had been warmly welcomed by the local authority in Derry and also by Donegal County Council. It is estimated that around 40 per cent of passengers that use CODA each year are from Donegal.

The Loganair spokesman said the flights from Derry to Stansted are typically used by business travellers. On the Derry to Glasgow route the company uses either a 33-seat Saab 340 aircraft or a 50-seat Saab 2000 – both propeller planes. The spokesman noted that the London route would be serviced by an Embraer jet were the company to be successful in operating it.

Separately, Loganair is one of two carriers operating out of Donegal Airport, from where it also flies to Glasgow.

The 57-year-old airline headquartered in Glasgow Airport has already stepped in to secure five air routes that came free as a result of Flybmi’s collapse.

Were it to take over the Derry to Stansted route, the airport would get some relief, given that it warned previously that it may not be “sustainable” without the route that was previously serviced by Ryanair.

Loganair first offered flights from Derry in 1979 when it established the first air link between the county and Glasgow. It currently operates that service five days a week.

Several UK media sources are reporting that accountancy firm BDO has been appointed as administrator to British Midland Regional Ltd which operated as Flybmi.