'Real concerns' about regional airline Loganair, says First Minister
Loganair has been hit by a series of high-profile incidents in recent months, including an emergency landing in Aberdeen.
The First Minister has acknowledged there are "real concerns" about the performance of regional airline Loganair.
A Loganair flight made an emergency landing at Aberdeen Airport on Wednesday and last week a pilot found a crack in the propeller of an aircraft moments before it was due to leave Stornoway Airport.
On Friday evening, a Loganair flight bound for Inverness was forced to return to Manchester after a technical issue.
The incidents occurred days after pilots union Balpa raised serious concerns about the safety and maintenance of the airline’s planes.
Balpa made a series of claims, including allegations that some aircraft were "unserviceable" and “had defects that clearly affect flight safety".
Responding to a call by Orkney Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said she would be “more than happy” to raise the Scottish Government’s concerns with Loganair.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The services provided by Loganair are lifeline services. They are absolutely vital to those who live in our island communities and there are real concerns about performance.
“Yesterday’s emergency landing caused considerable concern - not least for those who were aboard the plane.
“As he has alluded to himself [transport minister] Derek Mackay is discussing these concerns and these issues with Loganair and will continue to do so and demand these issues are rectified.”
She added: “I am more than happy to directly make the views of the Scottish Government known to the company.”
Mr Mackay had asked the First Minister: “For those of us living and working in the Highlands and islands, Loganair is the only provider of scheduled air services.
“They are a genuine lifeline for many businesses, for patients travelling to hospital and for the wider public.
“Yesterday yet another Loganair flight was forced to make an emergency landing - the second in less than a week.
“Given the lifeline nature of these services, will the First Minister now agree to make direct representations to the airline?
“Will she agree to meet with the chief executive of Loganair to reiterate the need to get the current problems sorted?
“And will she stress again that regaining public confidence in the reliability and safety of these services must be the number one priority?”
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