Loganair to launch flights from City of Derry to Liverpool
SCOTTISH airline Loganair has announced plans to launch a new link between Derry and Liverpool.
The new service, due to launch on May 24, comes after Ryanair cancelled its City of Derry to Liverpool route in December.
News of the new Liverpool service also follows hot on the heels of confirmation from the Department for Transport that it will continue to subsidize Loganair’s City of Derry to London Stansted service, currently the only active route in operation at the airport.
Loganair said tickets for the new Liverpool route go on sale on March 9, with the service initially running four days a week (Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).
Weekday flights will depart City of Derry at 10.50am, returning in the other direction at 12.20pm.
Loganair will use a 49-seat Embraer 145 jet for the route, with the frequency increasing from June.
The Scottish airline said it will be operated by its team of 15 pilots, cabin crew and engineers already based at City of Derry Airport.
Loganair is due to resume flights from Derry to Glasgow on April 5.
The airline's chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “Loganair already serves both City of Derry and Liverpool airports, and when the opportunity arose for us to connect these two important destinations in our network following another airline’s withdrawal, we were only too pleased to step in to safeguard these connections.
“Loganair’s ability to grow at City of Derry is in no small part thanks to the exemplary reputation for reliability and service established by our locally-based team. I’m most grateful to all of them for maintaining our London services without interruption over the difficult last 12 months.
“It’s wonderful to be able to recognise their superb efforts today by re-doubling our commitment to City of Derry’s air links.”
City of Derry Airport’s managing director, Steve Frazer, added: “We are pleased that Loganair have again shown their commitment to regional connectivity from the north west of NI. Increasing the frequency to seven days a week from the end of June will give maximum choice and flexibility to both business and leisure travellers”.
RYANAIR v THE CAA
Ryanair’s decision to cancel its services linking Derry with Liverpool and Edinburgh has been blamed an ongoing row with the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Ryanair cancelled 12 UK domestic routes on December 21 2020, claiming the CAA had changed its ‘wet leasing’ policy. Wet leasing relates to an arrangement where a carrier provides an aircraft, crew and maintenance to another airline.
The CAA said its policy on wet-leasing had not changed. In December it said: “A UK airline with a significant presence in the UK, such as Ryanair UK does, should not rely heavily on using wet-leased, foreign-registered aircraft to undertake their operations.
“Doing so undermines the competitiveness of the UK aviation industry and the effectiveness of the regulatory regime. This is a view shared by regulators around the world and has nothing to do with our preparations for the end of the [Brexit] transition period, which we have planned for extensively.
"The decision to cancel these flights was taken by Ryanair alone. We will continue to engage with the airline on these matter as we seek to act in the best interest of consumers.”
In its response, Ryanair said: “Ryanair UK had agreed Brexit contingency arrangements with the CAA two years ago and cannot comply with its new and impractical requirements at 10 days’ notice.
“We call on the CAA’s David Kendrick and his management colleagues to respect this long-standing agreement and the CAA’s own established policy in order to facilitate the return of these routes as soon as possible.”
Ryanair’s decision also affected flights from Belfast International Airport to Manchester and London Stansted.
Last week the Irish airline announced plans to launch flights to eight new sun European destinations from Belfast City Airport.