SOUTHAMPTON Airport has a “bright future”, according to the airline boss who has taken on three of its routes following the collapse of Flybe.

Glasgow-based Loganair announced on the day of Flybe’s fall into administration that it would operate flights between Southampton and Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Loganair’s chief executive, Jonathan Hinkles, told the Daily Echo that the demise of Flybe need not threaten the future of Southampton Airport. He said the airport had a good catchment area with big employers, as well as passengers who normally had a good disposable income.

“On all these counts, I think the airport has got a bright future,” he said.

Loganair has taken on former Flybe routes across the country.

“We’ll probably see some announcements from other airlines over the next couple of weeks,” said Mr Hinkles.

“Within six months, probably 80 per cent will be filled again with somebody. About 20 per cent probably shouldn’t be.”

Loganair’s Southampton services will start on March 23, with up to three flights a day between the city and Newastle, with one-way fares starting at £54.99.

From March 30, there will be three flights a day to Glasgow, with four flights a day from July 6, and fares starting at £54.99.

Edinburgh will be added to schedules from June 15, with up to four flights a day and fares from £54.99.

Unlike those of many other budget airlines, the fares include a baggage hold allowance, allocated seating and tea or coffee with wafers.

“People probably will see some higher fares around under the new regime because we’re not rushing out to repeat the issues that led to Flybe going bust,” said Mr Hinkles.

Loganair has said it will take on around 100 staff, mainly based in Scotland. But Mr Hinkles said its intervention would also preserve jobs with other employers running services at airports.

“We’re at least helping provide some certainty through that service sector and particularly in Southampton where high proportion of flights were Flybe,” he said.

Loganair is backing Southampton’s bid to extend its runway to accommodate a wider range of aircraft.

“We’re very, very supportive of the runway upgrade project in Southampton because actually, to be able to operate all types of aircraft in Loganair’s fleet, this runway is quite limited,” he said.

Flybe had said a downturn in demand after the outbreak of the coronavirus had contributed to its financial problems.

Mr Hinkles said: “Coronavirus will get worse before it gets better but tat the same time this industry has always had something – volcanic ash, the aftermath of 9/11.

“There’s always something in the industry and you just have to be able to deal with it.”