Scotland’s Airline Loganair reported a pre-tax profit of £1.01 million for the 12 months ended 31 March - its first full year of operation under its new brand identity.
However, the Shetland Times reports today (Thursday July 25th) that the impact of disruptive action by Air Traffic Controllers across airports run by Highlands and Islands Airports since April, has already cost the airline around £1m in compensation payments or accommodation costs related to passengers who were delayed or missed flights.
In 2018-19, Loganair posted a record turnover of £119.85 million, up 8.3% on the previous year's figure of £110.65 million.
The pre-tax profit is reported after non-recurring costs of £3.07 million related to the introduction of Brazilian-built Embraer jet aircraft to the fleet and the associated significant expansion of Loganair’s fleet to 43 aircraft during the first quarter of this year.
With this expansion, Loganair has now become the UK’s fifth largest airline measured by number of flights operated.
In February 2019, bmi Regional ceased trading, and Loganair's operation immediately grew by recruiting 140 of its pilots, cabin crew and engineers - as well as expanding the fleet by acquiring several of its Embraer jet aircraft, enabling jet aircraft to fly between Glasgow and Stornoway.
The increased range of the jet aircraft has facilitated growth further afield for Loganair, with new services from Scotland to Germany, Norway and Denmark and from Newcastle to Belgium and Norway being launched in recent months.
Operating from its Glasgow Airport headquarters and with 10 further operating bases in Scotland and England, Loganair now has 840 staff - its largest-ever complement.
Statutory reports indicate that Loganair has the strongest gender pay performance of any UK airline and continues to have the highest proportion of female pilots in the UK.
Managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: "We have every reason to be proud of our achievements in the last year, growing our routes in the UK and Europe, expanding staff numbers and expanding our fleet. “
They also won a new contract to provide services for British Airways’ CityFlyer subsidiary, took over the operation of a corporate shuttle service for a major aircraft manufacturer and won a competitive tender for air services between Derry and London.
Mr Hinkles sounded notes of caution on three challenges affecting the aviation industry - the advent of aggressive no-win no-fee agencies who are trying to extend eligibility of EU261 customer compensation claims for flight delays and cancellations to those affected by adverse weather; the five-fold rise in cost of EU Emissions Trading Carbon Permits – effectively a tax on aviation fuel which adds over £1m to Loganair customers’ ticket prices each year on top of the highest air travel tax in Europe (Air Passenger Duty); and an industry-wide shortage of pilots.
The airline has pressed forward with expansion plans in the early part of the new financial year, launching new services between London Southend Airport and Glasgow and Stornoway, and also to Aberdeen, and the first commercial air services from Carlisle Lake District airport. These started on July 4th and serve London Southend, Dublin and Belfast.