From today's Scotsman:
Stagecoach boss takes on BA
STAGECOACH tycoon Brian Souter is to go head to head with British Airways in the capital by launching a new 16 flights-a-day service between Edinburgh and London’s City airport.
ScotAirways is to pull out of Glasgow and concentrate all its resources on a new service aimed at the Edinburgh business market.
The Business Express concept will be launched this month after the company, part-owned by Stagecoach founder Brian Souter, concluded it could make more money by withdrawing from Glasgow.
The airline will charge around £140 for a single journey on its 31-seater turbo-prop Dornier 328 aircraft, although some flights will be available for £49 through an internet booking system.
Last night, Mr Souter said the decision had been driven by commercial reality and the realisation that there was a gap in the market for a fast commuter shuttle service.
He said: "Edinburgh is the right market for this product. It seems to us that Edinburgh is where the disposable income is, it’s where the business market is buoyant and in Glasgow, it is quite difficult to make that business product work. We’ve been doing Glasgow for two and a half years now and our trend in Glasgow has not been good."
He claimed ScotAirways has reported "phenomenal" business in the Edinburgh market, with year-on-year growth in excess of 120 per cent.
The company will take on British Airways by claiming it provides more flights each day between Edinburgh and London.
Mr Souter will claim, in a campaign expected to start next week, passengers could cut an hour or more off their travelling time because of reduced check-in times and less time spent boarding and disembarking from the smaller aircraft operating on the route.
He said the company believed it had identified a gap in the market between the large carriers such as British Airways and the budget operators.
This week, ScotAirways announced the suspension of its service between Aberdeen and London City airport, two months after taking the route over from British European.
The previous day, the airline had suspended flights between Inverness and London City after four months of operation.
Last night, Mr Souter said: "We’re pulling out of these places because we’ve not been finding the market has been coming through for this type of business "