Airline boss calls for government help as more flights cancelled from Norwich Airport

Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles who has asked for government intervention as the coronavirus outbreak

Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles who has asked for government intervention as the coronavirus outbreak hits the airline industry hard. Pic: Archant

The chief executive of Loganair has pleaded for government help as KLM announced it would ditch flights from Norwich because of coronavirus.

The call comes as other airlines – including KLM who has cancelled its three-times-a-week service between Amsterdam and Norwich – scramble to ground aircraft.

Easyjet, which does not operate from Norwich, has also cancelled all its flights.

Scottish-based Loganair, which still operates reduced flights from Norwich to Aberdeen has been forced to suspend most of its other schedule including from Norwich to Edinburgh until May 31.

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Boss Jonathan Hinkles said in a statement posted on Loganair’s website: “The situation is incredibly serious and alongside the obvious health and safety implications, puts the future of the entire aviation industry in jeopardy. With this in mind, we have joined with other UK carriers to seek emergency measures from the government to support all airlines in the sector.”

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Mr Hinkles added that Loganair staff have been asked to reduce working hours by 20% and accept a 20% reduction in salary as a result or take a period of unpaid leave.

He said: “We are working hard to avoid redundancies and lay-offs as have already been seen at major international airlines and as are likely to follow at several UK airlines in the coming days.”

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A quarter of its fleet of aircraft are currently in temporary storage.

Loganair is currently maintaining some flights to remote Scottish highlands and islands, considered an essential service. Over the weekend the airline could not even take calls because of the coronavirus situation, directing customers to email them for urgent enquiries over travel within the next 72 hours.

Customers booked on flights up to the end of May can change their reservation without a fee to travel on a future date.

Where services are completely suspended, they will get a full refund.

Dutch airline KLM said its call centres had been “overloaded” due to the coronavirus crisis and was dealing with repatriating people first.

For updates on coronavirus in Norfolk see the Facebook page here

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