Loganair steps in to save Derry-Stansted air service
Future of flights had been in doubt after collapse of Flybmi
Flights between Derry and London have been saved after Loganair was appointed to operate the route following the collapse of Flybmi.
The future of the route had been in jeopardy after the British regional airline went into administration on Saturday, blaming increased fuel and carbon costs and the challenges created by Brexit.
The Loganair service will operate from February 27th using a 49-seater Embraer 145 jet aircraft. The flight schedule will allow commuters to make a day trip to London. It will include two services each weekday and on Sunday, as well as a single Saturday flight.
The Scottish airline already provides a service between Derry and Glasgow five days per week.
Only last week, the UK transport secretary, Chris Grayling, had confirmed that the UK government would continue to provide funding for the Derry to London route until 2020.
The flights are operated as a Public Service Obligation (PSO) route funded by the British department of transport with a subvention from Derry City and Strabane District Council.
“This route is vital because it strengthens the union, protects choice and boosts trade and travel opportunities – enabling business trips to and from Derry-Londonderry within a day,” said Mr Grayling.
Loganair’s managing director, Jonathan Hinkles, said the airline was “extremely pleased” to be able to operate this essential air service following the completion of a competitive tender process.
“I know the news about Flybmi created great uncertainty, so we’re focused on recommencing operations as quickly as possible,” he said. “The route is an important link to London, with a schedule which has been tailored to the needs of the business community – enabling a full day of work in the capital before an evening flight home.
“The weekend services will also be attractive to leisure passengers who can choose the length of a short break.”
The announcement has been welcomed in Derry, where there had been fears that the loss of the route could affect the airport’s future viability.
“We are delighted to have Loganair on board to operate the London Stansted service,” said the regional and city airport’s contracts director, Clive Coleman.
“Maintaining frequent, conveniently scheduled air services to London is vitally important for the airport and for the economic development of the northwest city region,” he said.