The business, which says it is the UK’s largest regional carrier and currently operates 42 aircraft across 70 routes, will say goodbye to its remaining eight Saab 340B passenger aircraft by July through a $12 million (£10.7m) sale agreement, as it welcomes a further eight ATR next-generation turboprops into service next year.
The new planes are expected to lower carbon emissions per seat by more than a quarter versus the Saab 340s that operate on Loganair’s Highland and Island routes, amid its commitment to become fully carbon neutral by 2040. Leasing company Abelo joins Nordic Aviation Capital and Falko as providers of aircraft to Loganair, with the airline recently reporting a return to profitability.
The completed ATR fleet will have an average age of eight years, with more passenger seats as well as further cargo and mail hold space for its charter services. The new ATR aircraft are also equipped to use satellite-based approach systems, enabling operations to continue safely when visibility is poor – a common issue faced across Highlands and Islands destinations.
Loganair, which is based at Glasgow Airport, already has 15 of the ATR next-generation turboprops in service, including four of the 72-seat ATR 72-600 passenger aircraft and four dedicated ATR 72-500 Freighter aircraft that have taken over mail delivery flights to and from the Highlands and Islands in recent months.
Training of Loganair’s pilots, cabin crew and engineers to work on the new aircraft is gathering pace ahead of their introduction on routes from Glasgow to Islay, Benbecula, Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Derry and Stornoway in the first quarter of 2023.
Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The Saab 340s have served us, and our customers, superbly well over the last two decades, but it’s time for us to transition to a new generation of aircraft. Our multi-million-pound investment in ATR aircraft will safeguard connectivity for future generations within the Highlands and Islands air network, on which so many communities depend. We serve the vast majority of air routes in the Highlands and Islands on a purely commercial basis, with no direct subsidy – unlike other forms of transport – and are funding the introduction of new aircraft ourselves.”