Loganair is to challenge Eastern Airways on flights from Aberdeen airport this autumn.
The Scottish carrier is to start Embraer regional jet services to Newcastle and Norwich from September 1.
The new services will also offer connections at Aberdeen to and from Orkney, Shetland, Oslo and Esbjerg.
Loganair said it was responding to “market dissatisfaction” around Eastern Airways’ “inability to deliver a reliable air service for customers in the north east”.
It cited Civil Aviation Authority data as showing almost a quarter of flights last year were cancelled and only 65.5% departed on time.
Lead-in fares between Aberdeen and Newcastle are on sale for £69.99, while tickets to Norwich start at £74.99 – claimed to be up to £54 less return than Eastern Airways on the routes.
Loganair has scheduled up to three non-stop weekday services to both Newcastle and Norwich. Non-stop Sunday services will also be offered on both routes.
Commercial director Kay Ryan said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer more choice to travellers between Aberdeen, Newcastle and Norwich.
“Data concerning the current operator’s reliability between Aberdeen and Newcastle has been rather poor, which is frustrating for customers given the importance of reliability on this route.
“Loganair is immensely proud to sit amongst the top of the league for large UK airlines’ on-time performance, with 82% of services departing within 15 minutes of scheduled departure in 2018.
“Together with our rewarding Clan Loganair frequent flyer programme, we’re confident this will be welcome news to regular travellers and businesses in the region that depend on these air services.
“The schedule is constructed to offer maximum flexibility for those businesses and the offshore oil and gas industry and we’re looking forward to strengthening our network for the benefit of our customers”.
Aberdeen airport managing director Steve Szalay said: “Newcastle and Norwich share a common link with the energy sector and we welcome Loganair’s new services to both cities.
“Regional connectivity is the bloodline of our business and we’re pleased these services will kick off in September, just as we provide the final lick of paint to our £20 million terminal upgrade project.”
Eastern Airways commercial and operations general manager Roger Hage said: “We note the new announcements by Loganair as part of AIL (Airline Investments Limited) and their additional placing of former group flybmi aircraft on long standing Eastern Airways routes.
“We, however, welcome competition and look forward to adding new services in the coming week as part of the Flybe winter schedule release ourselves in Aberdeen and intra-Scotland.”
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