A CROSS-PARTY committee of MPs has written to airlines to highlight issues over delays and cancellations to flights between Scotland and London, with concerns the service is “almost broken”.

The Scottish Affairs Committee has urged British Airways and easyJet, which operate the routes, to give ­assurances that all efforts are being made to keep service punctual and outline steps being taken to increase flights and keep prices down.

Airports which have services ­between Scotland and London are also being asked to give information on punctuality and what is being done to address any staffing shortages.

The Scottish Affairs Committee ­previously carried out an inquiry that made recommendations on how airports and airlines could be helped to recover from the Covid pandemic.

But it said it has become ­increasingly concerned with ­persistent issues with flights between Scotland and ­London, hearing evidence of widespread ­delays and last-minute cancellations.

Committee chair and SNP MP Pete Wishart told the Sunday National: “We all travel regularly to London and most of us use air travel to do that.

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“I think in the last year, particularly in the last six months, we have just encountered a service that is almost broken.

“There are so many cancellations, there are delays almost built in now to most of the travel arrangements we have between Scotland and London.

“The service hasn’t fully recovered from pre-pandemic levels – there are no British Airways flights, for ­example, from Edinburgh and ­Glasgow to ­Gatwick – they have just never ­bothered reinstalling them.

“We are finding that the ­regular ­services we used to rely on ­pre-pandemic haven’t returned in full. The costs have shot up both on BA and easyJet.”

Wishart said there was particular concern about passengers who were relying on the flights to travel to ­London for business and work.

“People can have time-imperative arrangements in London because they are either conducting meetings on behalf of their businesses, or they are meeting people from all over the UK and further in the world,” he added.

“They are having to cancel these meetings because the plane is delayed two hours and there is sometimes no point in going down, as they are sometimes returning the same day.

The National:

“So it is having a huge impact on the ability of our business community to do their job and we are also in the summer season now, so people are using Heathrow particularly as a gateway to further destinations around the world.

“They find they are not able to meet flights or catch ongoing flights.”

Wishart (above) said the committee could also take further action if the answers received were not satisfactory.

“If we feel we are not getting the ­answers we require, we have the powers to compel them to come in front of our committee to account for themselves in person to the Scottish Affairs Committee,” he added.

“We will await the response and if we find they are not answering our questions in correspondence, they will be obliged to come in front of the Scottish Affairs Committee and ­account for themselves personally.”

A spokeswoman for easyJet said it was operating its biggest-ever ­flying programme from Scotland this ­summer, including more flights ­between Scotland and London.

“We continually review our ­network to reflect customer ­demand and our Scottish network has gone from strength to strength with an ­additional aircraft based in ­Edinburgh this summer and 23 new routes this year,” she said.

“We will always offer competitive fares and good value. 86% of our flights between London and Scotland are currently available under £50 and tens of millions of customers will choose to fly with easyJet this year.

“We have invested in operational resilience which is enabling us to operate our flying programme despite the challenging ­external air traffic control environment.”

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British Airways said it would be providing a ­response to the committee.

The letter has also gone out to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City airports.

Karen Dee, chief executive of the Airport ­Operators Association (AOA), said: “UK airports are continuing to ­recover from the effects of Covid-19, which shut the entire industry down.

“As passenger numbers recover, the aviation sector is working to establish more flights to destinations all over the world, including between London and Scottish airports.

“AOA welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence in this ­important matter in conjunction with our ­members to the Scottish Affairs ­Committee.”

A spokesperson for Highland and Islands Airports Limited, which ­operates Inverness Airport, said: “We have received a copy of the ­letter from the chair of the Scottish ­Affairs ­Committee and will provide a response to Mr Wishart with the ­information requested.”