Even before the end of July, Loganair is reporting that passenger numbers on its scheduled routes to and from Shetland have already reached the highest level since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scotland’s Airline is expecting to carry 16,400 passengers on its routes to and from Shetland for the month of July, buoyed by strong demand from visitors and sailing crews for the Tall Ships Race at month end.
Passenger numbers will be roughly 10% higher than in July 2022 – the previous busiest month since Covid-19 – and nearing levels seen in July 2019 when 16,706 passengers flew with Loganair on its scheduled flights to and from Shetland.
Alongside visitors for the Tall Ships Race, the airline has also worked to develop new incoming tourism business to the Scottish Islands from US visitors, helped by a record number of non-stop flights from the USA to Edinburgh this year to provide easier access to Scotland.
Amongst the routes recording growth are the key link to Aberdeen, now served by Loganair’s larger 72-seat ATR72 aircraft, where passenger numbers are up by 20% versus last July.
New larger aircraft have also been introduced in the last month to the majority of Sumburgh’s services to Glasgow and to Inverness via Kirkwall, as the airline nears completion of its multi-million pound investment programme to replace its ageing Saab 340 aircraft with larger ATR turboprops to future-proof air services throughout the Highlands and Islands.
However, the largest growth comes on the Shetland-Dundee-London route, now firmly established in its new London home at Heathrow’s Terminal Two.
Passenger numbers on the route are some 56% higher than last year, thanks to improved access to central London via the new Elizabeth Line service and worldwide connections with Loganair’s international airline partners.
These strong results have provided confidence for Loganair to increase from two to three weekly London flights in Summer 2024, serving the route on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in each direction, building upon this years’ service on Mondays and Thursdays.
Flights for 2024 went on sale across the airline’s network last week and Sunday services will be released for sale over the coming weeks.
Loganair’s Chief Executive Jonathan Hinkles said:
“Loganair is delighted to be supporting Shetland’s efforts to host the Tall Ships Race, with extra flights and more seats laid on, together with logistical support for key functions in the performing arts and ships’ crew change sectors which form part of the hosting.
“Major events such as these underpin our year-round commitment to Shetland’s air services and our local employment at Sumburgh Airport, where Loganair employs a team of 36 to look after both our scheduled flights and regular flights delivering Shetland’s mail and servicing the offshore energy industry.”
Together with Loganair’s programme to deliver daily newspapers as cargo; carry domestic pets at a modest charge on its scheduled flights; offer Shetland’s only direct international link to Bergen; and provide a variety of specialist services for customers requiring extra assistance or with mobility needs, Loganair today provides the most comprehensive range of services that Shetland has ever seen.
Across the last three months, the airline has operated 1,107 of its scheduled 1,119 flights to and from Shetland, achieving a reliability record excluding weather events of 99% on Shetland flights.