Five Airlines Considered for Pandemic Flights

The gov approached easyJet, Loganair, BA CityFlyer, Aurigny and Eastern Airways before choosing Scottish airline to provide an air link during the pandemic.

DoI Minister Tim Baker was asked by Lawrie Hooper what criteria were set out for airlines participating in the expression of interest process for gov support during the pandemic; and what process was followed to award the contracts?

Mr Baker said: ‘When the department realised there would be a value in a longer-term arrangement for air services to London, it sought prices from airlines that were able to meet its requirements.’

The criteria set for the airlines with regard to the provision of a London service were, the airline had to have recent experience of operating from the Isle of Man prior to the pandemic and the airline had recent experience of operating into either London City, Gatwick or  Heathrow.

Mr Baker added: ‘I can also confirm that, although three prices were obtained, the value of the work meant that a full tender exercise would normally have been carried out. The DoI obtained prices, consulted with other departments that had an interest, including the DHSC, DfE, Treasury and the Cabinet Office and applied for a waiver which was approved.’

Douglas South MHK Captain Paul Quine praised the work of Loganair in employing Manx based flight crews and its commitment to ‘increase this crew base when circumstances permit, additionally recruiting locally sourced highly skilled jobs, as well as ensuring the continuation of local ancillary support, such as local engineers and ground operations personnel’. 

Mr Baker said: ‘It is very much a positive when airlines are willing to invest on the island, when they are willing to base themselves on the island and when they are willing to create local employment opportunities, and those are all factors which were taken into account in assessing the various proposals that were received.

‘Now, clearly, we are not yet in a stable, long-term position with open borders and with flight volumes and travel patterns returning to normal. We are very much still in this transition phase as a result of the pandemic, but as we move forward, these issues of connectivity and the added value will become increasingly important and it is really important that we have a partnership relationship and maximise the added value to the Isle of Man as a whole.’