Loganair has been facing service issues at its regional destinations since UK left the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) last year.
Loganair CEO Asks Government to Rejoin EGNOS
The CEO of Loganair, Jonathan Hinkles, is calling for the UK government to rejoin the European precision satellite system EGNOS. A study published yesterday showed that over 100,000 customer journeys had been disrupted since Britain stopped using the system last June.
“Imagine that SatNav was switched off, and you had to return to the days of driving around, peering out of the windscreen at street names, and navigating with an ‘A to Z’ in your lap? It’s unthinkable – yet that’s what a UK Government decision last year effectively did for pilots landing at some of our most remote airports.” said Hinkles in a statement released Tuesday evening.
Withdrawal from the EGNOS system particularly affects regional airlines like Loganair, whose network covers a range of small Scottish islands with small airports that are more readily affected by poor weather. One example is Barra, where the runway is a beach and can’t be equipped with conventional radio-based navigation aids. According to Loganair, flight cancellations to destinations such as Barra have doubled in the year since the EGNOS system was turned off.
Why Did the UK Leave the EGNOS System?
The UK Government’s decision to leave the EGNOS came as part of the wider Brexit negotiations since the program is a European Union Initiative. The UK’s “third country” status means it can no longer be involved in the way they once were. Britain has been developing its own satellite navigation system to replace EGNOS. But it would be some time before it could be employed by UK aircraft.
Re-entry to the system would cost the UK government £27-29 million annually, according to a report published yesterday by consultancy firm Oxera. But for every £1 spent on restoring UK access to the system, Oxera predicted the economy would benefit by £2.60. The study was released by the Cross Party Group on General Aviation.