Loganair's chief executive has issued an apology to customers in Orkney and Shetland after a "difficult" month in April. 

Jonathan Hinkles issued an open letter to the island residents after high levels of Covid staff absences saw a number of passengers experience delays in the past month. 

The airline's on-time performance dropped from an average of 89per cent in the first three months of the year to 74% in April for flights to and from Orkney. 

Meanwhile, Shetland passengers saw levels drop from an average of 80% in January to March to just 61% of the flights arriving on time last month. 

Mr Hinkle said: "We know this is simply not good enough."

"Loganair’s 60 years of service to communities across Scotland has been forged through delivering for our customers through thick and thin," he added.

"Today, our focus on getting service levels back to where they need to be is absolute."

The increase in delays comes after 90% of flights were on time in 2020-21 and the airline added that it was “working hard” to restore these industry-leading levels.

“We must make money from busy flights to be able to maintain services across 52 weeks of the year – so making a profit on a busy flight on a Friday in May goes towards making sure there’s still a service on a quiet (and loss-making) Tuesday in February,” he said.  

“If we didn’t do this, there simply wouldn’t be year-round services on many of the routes we fly, and communities dependent on our air services would really see the impact in the shoulder and winter seasons.”

The airline, which was founded 60 years ago and is the UK’s largest regional carrier, has a target of becoming net-zero by 2040.

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