Government 'couldn't agree' financial support, airline says
Loganair is pulling all flights between the Isle of Man and London Heathrow from Wednesday 11 August.
The Scottish airline says it's because the Isle of Man Government couldn't agree financial support for the service beyond the end of July.
Loganair began flying from the Island following the collapse of Flybe, and the introduction of Covid-19 lockdowns in March 2020, and today operates routes to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Jersey.
The Heathrow route started in November last year.
The airline also employs pilots and cabin crew based in the Isle of Man and contracts the maintenance of its aircraft to Manx company M&A Technical Services which is based at Ronaldsway.
Loganair chief commercial officer Kay Ryan said: "We regret having to take this decision to cancel the Heathrow service and also very much regret the inconvenience to our customers.
"The sharp rise in costs of operating services at London’s premier airport coupled to the slower-than-expected rebound in passenger numbers after the pandemic mean that the route is not viable unless it has financial support from the Isle of Man Government.
"We were given to understand the connectivity we can provide via codeshare agreements with our international airline partners at Heathrow was of vital importance to the Island community and it has therefore come as an unwelcome surprise that the Isle of Man Government foresees no continuing requirement for the route.
"We fully intend to support local employment, and the local business supply chain, by continuing our other services from the island and we hope to continue vital airlinks for the island patient travel service to Liverpool hospitals."
In a statement released to Manx Radio the Isle of Man Government said:
"Loganair provided much valued support for the Isle of Man during the pandemic, as choosing to underwrite flights to Heathrow ensured connectivity to and through London.
"This marked an important strategic decision taken at an appropriate time and was regarded as essential in the Island’s economic and social interest.
"The resumption of commercial flights to the South East of England mean the Isle of Man Government should now step away and allow the aviation sector to cater for demand in a competitive marketplace.
"The cancellation of passengers’ flights is, of course, regrettable and will lead to some disappointment, but is ultimately a commercial decision.
"Loganair remain an important part of the Island’s aviation future and we look forward to building on our positive working relationship."