Energy workers left in lurch as another flight from Norwich Airport is scrapped
PUBLISHED: 06:00 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 20:06 24 January 2018
A regional airline is cancelling its flights from Norwich to Aberdeen, leaving many energy industry workers in the lurch.
BMI Regional’s decision to stop flying the route comes just weeks after Loganair scrapped its flight to Durham, with both carriers blaming a lack of demand.
BMI said its flights between Norwich and the Scottish city would stop on February 11 – a decision influenced by “changing market conditions”.
But a Norfolk-based oil industry worker, who has been flying on the route for 25 years, says it could spell trouble for oil and gas firms trying to conduct business along the east coast.
BMI’s sister company Loganair said in December that low passenger numbers had led it to stop operating its Norwich-Durham route, but a BMI spokesman said the actions were not connected.
The oil industry worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told this newspaper that the route’s cancellation would inconvenience him and others working in the sector – particularly as the oil and gas industry in the North Sea is beginning to recover and passenger demand could consequently grow.
“Considering this part of the world has major business ties with that part of Scotland it seems odd,” he said.
“It seems strange to keep [the flights] on through the worst of times for the oil industry and scrap them now.”
Eastern Airways, which signed a codesharing agreement with Flybe last year, still flies between Norwich and Aberdeen. The oil worker claimed the airline had reduced its timetable, making it more difficult to conduct a return journey between the cities in one day, but a spokesman for Eastern Airways said there had been no changes, nor were changes planned, to its service.
A BMI spokesman said it could “no longer maintain a sustainable commercial service” on the Norwich-Aberdeen route.
“Despite recent rises in oil prices, structural shifts in the oil and gas industry and the way it conducts business have resulted in a permanent change to passenger numbers between Aberdeen and Norwich.”
Customers who have booked directly with BMI for flights between Aberdeen and Norwich from February 12 onwards will be contacted by BMI and offered an alternative. Any customers who booked via a third party are advised to contact their agent.
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