Travel agents in the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) have supported a poll for an airline to provide “strong competition” to British Airways’ routes from Scotland into London.
In a recent survey with members 97% backed for a single airline to compete with BA on routes between Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Heathrow, with SPAA’s president Kevin Thom supporting Virgin Atlantic’s bid on the route.
Aer Lingus is also said to have bid for the slot pairings, with BA due to operate eight daily flights Aberdeen-Heathrow and 12 Edinburgh-Heathrow from April 2013.
”Of course, as leisure and business travel providers we work closely with British Airways and other existing Anglo Scottish carriers, but we also recognise that Scotland and its travellers really need this additional capacity. We are confident that Virgin Atlantic’s plans are well-conceived and their commitment long-term and we support their view that the slot-pairs must be allocated en bloc – to make the services both viable and sustainable,” said Thom.
“Above all, we firmly believe Virgin Atlantic’s presence on the Anglo-Scottish routes would strengthen, stimulate and expand the market for all airlines operating here and encourage Scots to travel more and further,” he added.
It comes as airlines wait to hear which slot pairings they will (or not) receive following those left when BA bought out bmi. While 93% of SPAA members were concerned fares would rise if no airline was selected, 80% said that carriers with little connectivity at Heathrow should not be awarded slot-pairs. A letter has been sent to EU decision-makers highlighting its concerns.