Energy chiefs add voice to save flights to Granite City

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Oil and gas leaders have backed the campaign to persuade British Airways to drop plans to axe flights between Aberdeen and London City Airport.

They warn that local firms could suffer from the loss of connections between Europe’s energy capital and one of the world’s top financial centres.

BA has been under fire since confirming this week that the three daily services to London City would be scrapped from October.

The airline blamed the decision on the route’s poor performance – and replaced the Aberdeen service with extra flights to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dublin.

But even Prime Minister David Cameron appeared to question the move when it was brought to his attention by Gordon MP Sir Malcolm Bruce.

The Conservative leader described the flights as “absolutely vital” and vowed to investigate the decision.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK has said the loss of the service – which is used frequently by executives in the energy sector – would be “extremely disappointing”.

The organisation’s business director, Stephen Marcos Jones, told the Press and Journal that he would be contacting BA bosses to ask them to reverse the decision.

He said: “Reports commissioned by Oil and Gas UK earlier this year identified poor connectivity between oil and gas hubs
as a significant barrier to growth for our world-class supply chain.

“It is, therefore, extremely disappointing that we face losing the direct route between London City, itself a hub for the oil and gas industry, and Aberdeen, the energy capital of Europe.

“We support the cross-party effort by local politicians to maintain this link and will be making our own representations to British Airways and senior political figures in the City of London and Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

Derick Murray, director of regional transport partnership Nestrans, said governments should have powers to protect such regional services.

“It is clearly disappointing to lose these flights, which came in when we lost BMI flights to Gatwick,” he said.

“We need competition to ensure that flights to London are not simply removed to benefit any particular airline – especially when these flights carry a good number of passengers, as the London City flights did.

“We have been arguing that the government should have powers to ensure that adequate services can be maintained between the more remote peripheral airports and the capital.”