Business leader warns ageing airline fleet could risk investment to Dundee

Paul Durrant, founder and chief executive of the UK Games Fund.

A leading Dundee businessman has warned lack of investment in key travel links could see the city miss out on vital trade.

Paul Durrant, chief executive of the UK Games Fund, called for major improvements to flights connecting the city with other industry hubs.

The business development specialist, whose company was set up to help support the UK gaming industry, was on a Standsted-bound flight on Tuesday afternoon when a mechanical issue meant he was delayed for around an hour.

Mr Durrant claimed it was just the latest in a long line of issues with the service and said the incident was indicative of a much wider problem.

He said: “I’ve been using this flight a couple of times each month for a number of years now and there are regularly issues.

“It’s a terrible introduction to Dundee and gives off a bad impression of how the city operates.

“The reality now is that with the Queensferry Crossing opening, many will simply opt to fly for London meetings from Edinburgh instead.

“That will make the route less sustainable and means we could lose it altogether. I think that would be very damaging for Dundee.”

He confirmed he had cancelled all future travel from Dundee Airport for his firm and warned others could be forced follow suit.

Mr Durrant’s intervention comes as the city moves forward with a planned £1.8 billion deal to bring thousands of jobs to the region through oil and gas decommissioning.

Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce chief executive Alison Henderson

Alison Henderson, CEO of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, said the quality of transport in and out of the city is a “very important issue” for industries looking to invest.

She added: “The Dundee to London route is absolutely vital for the city and businesses are very keen to maintain this link.

“The feedback we have had is that the reliability of the service is generally quite good but I will be raising this issue at the next meeting of the Airport Consultative Committee.”

Loganair chief operations officer Maurice Boyle defended the company’s record on reliability and said more than three-quarters of flights on the service had arrived within their targeted arrival period over the past three months.

He added: “We would like that to be higher, but the fault lies mostly with air traffic control restrictions in the London area.

“We have spoken at length with National Air Traffic Services over this issue, and they have assured us that we are not the only carrier suffering delays, and that they are monitoring the issue.”