Loganair has announced an expansion at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) amidst calls to the UK Government for competition reform relating to slots at the airport.
Loganair, the largest regional airline in the UK, announced it is expanding operations at London Heathrow after securing 30 additional pairs of slots each week.
The Glasgow-based airline has obtained the slots through a lease arrangement with British Airways, who has ‘ownship’ of the slots, and it takes effect in May 2023.
The carrier stated it would develop regional connectivity with increased services between the capital hub and regional airports.
The slots will enable Loganair to develop regional connectivity from UK domestic destinations to the UK’s premier hub, offering both point-to-point access into London itself and a broad range of new worldwide connections via Heathrow.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re delighted to be growing our operations at Heathrow.”
The airline became the UK’s major regional carrier since the original FlyBe entered administration in early 2020. Following travel restriction easing, the airline has started to expand operations across the UK.
Route details and destinations are due to be announced in the coming days once the formalities of the agreement have been concluded.
Airport Coordination Limited, who is the designated coordinator for UK airports on matters such as slots, publicly confirmed the slot agreement.
The slot machine
With the expansion announcement, the airline has renewed its calls to the UK Government to reform competition remedies. The intention of such is to make slots at the capital’s hub airport permanently available.
“Having taken these important first steps ourselves to provide new connectivity to and from the UK regions under this arrangement, it’s now essential for the UK Government to initiate the process needed to reform competition remedies to provide access to Heathrow for the UK regions,” Hinkles added.
The airline gained the rights to operate the Heathrow-Isle of Man-Heathrow route in late 2021, using slots vacated temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic. It then permanently secured the slots.
The carrier has called on the UK Government to initiate action with the European Commission to repatriate control of competition remedies, dating back to 2012.
Under this, Heathrow slots were previously made available to other airlines to fly routes, such as domestic connectivity. The campaign to reform Heathrow competition remedy slots, led by Loganair, began in February.
The movement has gained public support from key industry figures such as John Holland-Kaye, the Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport; Willie Walsh, the Director General of IATA and form CEO of IAG (owners of British Airways).
On 1 January 2023, Heathrow also changed its tariffs for regional aircraft operating on UK domestic routes. Loganair said the new tariffs were “critical to the viability” of its plans to provide regional route connections to the capital.