The Manx government is underwriting Loganair’s new London services.
The airline this week resumed flights to Heathrow after ditching the service on August 11 when the first government subsidy ended.
There are now also more flights to London City.
Loganair declined to give details of the arrangement with the government and the Department for Enterprise confirmed that the flights are being underwritten by the taxpayer but did not disclose more financial details to the Manx Independent.
There was a fanfare launch of the new services this week, at which the subsidy was not mentioned.
After we questioned the DfE, a spokesman said: ‘‘The Department for Enterprise can confirm that the Isle of Man Government has entered into an agreement with Loganair to provide an underwrite on the recently announced services to London City and Heathrow.
‘This arrangement enables connectivity to London to be increased, with a schedule suited to facilitate both business and leisure travel in either direction, for an interim period to the end of October 2022.
‘The department, working closely with the Department of Infrastructure, will shortly be commencing an open process which will seek to secure the provision of air services on our core economic routes into the longer term as part of an overall air strategy.’
On Loganair’s service to Heathrow resumed, and it increased its flights from the Isle of Man to London City with a weekday return service.
The schedule of morning and evening flights each weekday to London City will offer a day-return capability in each direction, is being promoted to business users.
In addition, there is a flight in each direction on Sunday evenings.
Daily services to Heathrow will mean that Manx passengers can go on to a greater number of destinations around the world..
Both the London City and Heathrow routes are being flown under Loganair’s codeshare agreement with British Airways.
Loganair’s 72-seat ATR72-600 aircraft will be used for all Isle of Man routes.
Though all Loganair flights are carbon offset as part of its GreenSkies initiative, these are also the most environmentally efficient regional aircraft.
The initiative adds £1 to all flights to pay for carbon offsetting. The company says funds raised will be invested in projects all over the world that meet internationally accredited standards to remove carbon from the atmosphere.
The new services are being flown by Loganair’s Isle of Man-based team of pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
The airline has more than 30 staff based at Ronaldsway who also support existing Loganair routes to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
To mark the occasion, Loganair’s chief executive and Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for the Isle of Man Department for Enterprise, as well as Tim Crookall MHK, Minister for Infrastructure, welcomed the first flights on Tuesday.
A ‘check-in desk to the world’ was also opened for Heathrow passengers, showcasing numerous destinations that can now be reached one-stop from Isle of Man, including New York, Singapore, Paris and Cape Town.
Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s chief executive, said: ‘As businesses in the Isle of Man start on their journeys to recovery from the pandemic, we know that connectivity to London’s central business district and trade with the wider world is of huge importance.
‘After the tremendous efforts of our team in the Isle of Man I’m delighted to be here with them today to mark the take-off of our full schedules to London City Airport, and to London Heathrow – which really is a route to the world in collaboration with our global airline partners.
It’s a role we don’t take lightly though, and our focus now turns to delivering dependable air services to these London airports that will undoubtedly be the most important for the island going forward.’
Dr Alex Allinson MHK, Minister for the Isle of Man Department for Enterprise, said: ‘Ensuring the island is well connected by air is a matter of strategic national importance, particularly during this critical period of economic recovery following the pandemic.
‘The Department for Enterprise has been working closely with the Department of Infrastructure and Treasury in developing a strategic approach that will provide longer term security of the island’s air routes for the benefit of both leisure and business travellers.
‘Securing additional flights to the London region for 2022 was an important interim measure and I am delighted that an agreement has been reached with Loganair to provide connectivity to both London City and Heathrow.’