Flybe’s cancelled flight figures must improve dramatically, says MSP

27 July 2007

Highlands and Islands Regional Labour MSP, Peter Peacock has said the performance of discount airline Flybe, who took over the Inverness/ Gatwick route in March, must improve dramatically.

The operation of the airline has been heavily criticised by constituents and the local media due to the number of delayed and cancelled flights.

Mr Peacock said, "I was contacted recently by a constituent who had experienced considerable delays and was deeply frustrated by the performance of Flybe on the Inverness/ Gatwick route.

"In response to the communication I wrote to Highlands and Islands Airports Limited asking what percentage of flights on the route, operated by Flybe, had been subject to delay.

"In their response HIAL advised that between the 1st April this year and the 1st July from a total of 438 flights, 300 or 68.50% were subject to delays and 10 or 2.20% were cancelled.

"On time departures were only 128 out of 438, representing 29.30%. Given the importance of this route into London for the economy of the north for business links and tourism, these performance figures are in need of dramatic improvement.

"I also wrote to the Chairman and Chief Executive of Flybe seeking the same information on delayed flights - as was provided by HIAL. I was disappointed to receive a response which did not answer the question in respect of Inverness airport but provided details of Flybe punctuality times from Gatwick.

"These stand at 81%.

"Flybe have offered my constituent an unreserved apology and referred to ‘a unique set of technical issues’ for the instance he cited.

"I am aware the company have recently taken action to improve their service from Inverness to Gatwick and that the local airport consultative committee have also been pushing them for improvement.

"This is a vitally important route to Inverness and it is essential these problems are effectively addressed.

"My latest information is that matters are improving and any such improvement needs to continue.

"I am concerned that the reputation of the company will suffer so much they will lose customers and that is what might ultimately endanger the route.

"That is why it is vital consumers don’t just accept the situation, but make their views known."

Mr Peacock added, "I will be monitoring the performance of Flybe in the months to come and I hope to see an improvement on Flybe’s performance on the route.

"I will also be asking Highland Council, HIAL, HITRANS and HIE to put pressure on the company for significant improvement to happen.

"If any local people have experiences to relate, I will be happy to hear from them."


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