Highland games: no BA / Loganair codeshare deal as Flybe launches in competition

Loganair operates flights to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, primarily from Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh.  It is probably best known for its service from Glasgow to Barra, where the plane lands on the beach and the flight times are adjusted to the tide table (photo below).

Between 1993 and 2007, Loganair operated as a British Airways franchise.  In 2007, it switched to being a Flybe franchise.  It remained a British Airways codeshare partner, however, and because Flybe is a BA and avios.com partner you have been able to redeem Avios for these services.

Loganair and Flybe are ending their franchise agreement on 1st September 2017.  From that date flights will operate under the Loganair brand.

barra

When this news was first reported in November 2016, it was said that the British Airways codeshares would remain in place.  This would allow you to, for example, book through tickets from Heathrow to Sumburgh in Shetland via Edinburgh.

It wouldn’t have been a perfect arrangement.  Unless Loganair signed up as an Avios partner, you would not have been able to redeem Avios on these routes.  You WOULD have been able to continue to earn Avios and British Airways tier points as long as you booked revenue tickets under a BA flight code.

But nothing has been announced ….

1st September is now getting very close.  There have been no announcements from British Airways about what is happening.

As far as ba.com is concerned, destinations such as Barra simply disappear from the BA route map in three weeks time.  The flights will still be operating – and will be bookable on the Loganair website – but not as a BA codeshare.  This will create issues over through-checking of luggage and of course you won’t earn any Avios or tier points.

Last week, a statement appeared on the Loganair website.  All it says – stripping out the waffle – is “Loganair has confirmed that it is in discussion with British Airways on an expanded code share agreement, with a view to its introduction in the near future.”  On the upside, the statement implies that we could eventually see a broader deal than the current one which does not cover all Loganair routes.

And more confusion as Flybe launches a partnership with Eastern Airways

Clearly annoyed at losing its deal with Loganair, Flybe has agreed a joint venture with Eastern Airways.

Eastern will use four of its aircraft to operate the following new routes, using Flybe branded aircraft and with tickets sold via the Flybe website.  The joint venture covers services from:

  • Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow to Sumburgh, Shetland
  • Aberdeen to Kirkwall
  • Glasgow to Stornoway
  • Glasgow to Manchester

Eastern / Flybe will now operate in direct competition to Loganair on these routes.  The strategy is that flyers will remain loyal to the Flybe brand that they have used for the last eight years.

These flights will launch on 1st September.

It appears that these six routes are not available for Avios redemption, despite the Avios deal with Flybe.  You will be able to earn Avios on these flights at the standard Flybe rates although it is not possible to earn British Airways tier points.

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Comments

  1. These flights are usually ridiculously expensive unless you live in the Highlands and apply for the taxpayer to subsidise your trips.

    Using avios also gets prices down to somewhere reasonable so it would be a shame if redemptions were stopped.

    I’m not sure there is much in the way of brand loyalty – the flights are not that frequent and if you are constrained by time or other scheduled public transport, then you don’t really have a choice as to which airline to take. I’ve had to reschedule Loganair flights to several months later (which they happily did to avoid EC261) when there were 2-3 hour delays as my plans became impossible to complete.

    • Genghis says:

      Pricing up with Flybe prior to change and Loganair after, the latter seemed significantly cheaper. We’ve paid c.£80pp GLA-BRR return which I thought ain’t too bad.

  2. Sounds like a pretty rubbish situation for those living on the islands of they’re not going to be able to buy through tickets anymore. Also clearly disappointing from an Avios perspective.

    • the real harry1 says:

      but just imagine it from BA’s position – I bet you those flights suffer more than average disruption due to weather

      duty of care (hotels, F&B, re-routing) would apply – now BA can negotiate its way out of any liability there dumping it on Loganair plus leave the customer responsible for their own luggage after arrival on BA metal

      • Flybe/Loganair (ie Menzies) ground staff at GLA were rude and indifferent when our GLA-KOI was delayed 2.5 hours due to earlier flight going technical (NOT, as they naturally insisted, due to weather); but LC crew once we boarded couldn’t have been friendlier or more informative. Let’s hope LC post-BE rebuilds its relationship with BA and teaches them a thing or two about the goodwill airlines earn by giving reliable information, a free cup of tea and a biscuit.

      • Lewis Watson says:

        Yip but they handle it well. When I flew to barrage they misjudged the tides. So pilot asked if anyone wanted to get photos of there house from above. There was then a question of people going to cockpit directing the pilots and taking photos. It was kind of sureal

      • AIcatti says:

        EC261 obligations are always on the operating carrier

        • the real harry1 says:

          that’s my point – that used to be partly BA (OK, shared) but now they can make the EC261 obligations fall squarely on Loganair

          there wouldn’t be a huge amount more to negotiate other than revenue split – which ain’t rocket science

  3. Andrew says:

    The dynamic has changed though hasn’t it with Flybe offering flights to Heathrow from Edinburgh and Aberdeen?

    I’ve certainly been sat next to quite a few Virgin “Upper” Codeshare passengers on Flybe’s EDI-LHR services. They tend to be either shocked or entertained by the experience of the Q400s by comparison to their transatlantic journey. Sometimes wonder if Virgin Atlantic might sponsor a couple of 1+1 seats in their colours at the front.

  4. Deenesh says:

    The Loganair/BA codeshare WILL remain in place. Details being finalised:

    https://www.loganair.co.uk/loganair-british-airways-work-towards-expanded-code-share-agreement-2nd-august-2017/

  5. James Phillips says:

    Interesting – we flew Manchester – Aberdeen – Kirkwall yesterday. Our Manchester Aberdeen flight was about 90 mins late, and I have to say the customer service received at manchester with regards to booking us on the later flight up to kirkwall was absolutely shocking. The woman basically ignored us and scratched her belly saying ‘I’m kinda hungry, when’s lunch….’ The jaws of everyone in the queue practically hit the floor!!
    The staff at Aberdeen, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more helpful and delightful and seemed completely embarrassed when I told them about the behaviour of their colleagues in manchester. I’ve never had a single good experience with Flybe, used them a few times in the last year and have never been within an hour of being on time. I can’t say I blame Loganair at all for going it alone. We’re booked Sumburgh – Edinburgh – LHR on 19th, booked through BA. Hope all’s still ok then…?!

  6. RussellH says:

    I assume that the Barra flight still has a Royal Mail contract too, which must help the financing?

    When I lived there, the theory was that First Class post went by plane, Second Class by ferry.

    The reality was slightly different, in that the stamp used seemed to be irrelevant. Residents post always seemed to go by plane; I assumed that tourists post went by ferry.

    • Second class post from Belfast to me in London always arrives in 1 day, but second class from 5 miles away takes 2-3 days.

  7. Tony Burns says:

    Been a huge amount if comment in the Shetland and Orkney papers with a great deal of involvement of the relative councils. Basically the fear is be lots of cheap flights short tern but medium to longterm not viable to have two airlines on these routes and either one or both could end up pulling out on financial grounds.
    What has always interested me is Loganair and BMI are both owned by the same people yet they don’t seem to cooperate very much.

  8. Lady London says:

    Looks to me like Loganair has pioneered the service and is potentially going to get *****ed by the introduction of a new competitor on these routes which must have a very limited market.

    • In reply to this and another posting about the GLA-BRR route above, the flights were full when I went there last year. I believe that getting a seat (on the 19 seater Twin Otter) can be problematical at times, so I’m looking forward to competition that brings the current high price down.

      • You are not going to see any competition there. Flybe are only competing on the (relative) volume routes between the main cities and Orkney / Shetland / Lewis. They are there to make money – you don’t make much (if anything) flying 19 people a day to Barra.

        Loganair support a whole lot more than that (Barra, Islay, Tiree, outer Orkney & Western isles islands, etc) – hence the local nervousness that competition on principal routes will leave them unviable.

        It’d be nice to see BA support Loganair and continue to serve the whole breadth of the British Isles via codeshare but I won’t hold my breath. We all know BA will take the best financial decision for BA. However It’d be a pretty brave decsion entrust lifeline services to Flybe given the calamity that is that airline – just ask their long suffering shareholders.

    • JamesB says:

      There was some noise earlier this year that Loganair themselves had plans to grow their business more aggresively but time will tell.

  9. TigerTanaka says:

    Logan air coming yo Durham Tees Valley (Teesside) – going head to head with Eastern on MME-ABZ (3 daily) and introducing MME-NWI daily.

  10. TigerTanaka says:

    Loganair coming to Durham Tees Valley (Teesside) – going head to head with Eastern on MME-ABZ (3 daily) and introducing MME-NWI daily.

  11. I have family in Caithness, and it’s clear that Flybe are simply cherry picking prime routes, to destabilize their former partner, who dared to say no to them.

    Flybe have form in the past for this – they did it at Plymouth which now has no services or airport after Flybe forced Air Southwest into the arms of Eastern, who promptly closed the airline.

    Eastern fly from Aberdeen to Wick and they have cancelled a flight every day for as long as I can remember, this resulted in me having to make a seven hour train journey instead. According to Pilot Prune, things are not good at Eastern, and Flybe have made a rod for themselves. The proposed timetable from Flybe includes flights at times when Sumburgh airport is closed. Flybe fares do not include luggage and they impose credit card fees. Loganair have always included a checked bag and they also included a snack and a tea/coffee on board. Crew told me they are pushing to have alcohol brought back into service.

    Loganair’s refurbished Saabs are super, and the new livery is great.

    Exterioir
    https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/story_large/public/thumbnails/image/2017/08/10/09/loganair.jpg

    Interior
    https://www.shetnews.co.uk/images/stories/1602/160229_Mackay__Harrison.jpg

    I hope this fight is resolved as it risks weakening both airlines. Maybe LM will buy Eastern…

  12. Alvin Leong says:

    I fly Loganair quite regularly from LSI-***-LHR and beyond for 5 years and now I fly from KOI, also Loganair. Most recently I flew KOI-***-LHR-SIN on one ticket. It stinks now that nothing is available on either BA or Loganair for flights beyond August 2017. Given how often the planes fail on these route (crapped out old SAAB 340s), I want to have the security of one ticket booking when I fly. The alternative is to fly out to ABZ/GLA/EDI and connect onward on a separate booking but that either increase risks of a missed connection, or I have to waste an extra day to make sure I have enough time to connect the next day. For example, on my most recent flight, I had 1 hour connection at LHR, but the plane was 45 minutes late. However I still made the connection on time. This has to be increased to over 4 or 5 hours minimum or a whole day to be safe. And since I was on a through booking, even if I missed the connection, BA will be responsible to put me up in a hotel.

  13. Codeshare in place.
    Seems Avios redemptions are gone.