Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, has announced a series of new multi-million-pound agreements as it moves to complete the renewal and futureproofing of its aircraft fleet by 2023.
The airline, which currently operates 42 aircraft across 70 routes throughout its network, will say goodbye to its remaining eight Saab 340B passenger aircraft through a $12 million sale agreement, as it welcomes a further eight ATR next-generation turboprops into service in 2023.
The new ATR turboprops will bring up to a 27% reduction in carbon emissions per seat versus the Saab 340 which operate on Loganair’s Highland and Island routes. This supports the airline’s commitment to reducing emissions and becoming fully carbon neutral by 2040.
The completed ATR fleet will have an average age of only eight years and bring enhanced capacity across the network with more passenger seats on each flight, in addition to more 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 in conditions of reduced visibility such as fog or low cloud – a common issue faced across Highlands and Islands destinations.
Loganair 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 which have taken over mail delivery flights to and from the Highlands and Islands in recent months. The Saab type will progressively leave the airline’s fleet between now and July 2023, under the $12 million sale agreement, and will continue their flying careers with new operators in North America.
These additional eight aircraft will arrive by Summer 2023, making Loganair one of the largest operators of ATRs in Europe. With the first of a series of new agreements already signed, leasing company Abelo joins Nordic Aviation Capital and Falko as providers of aircraft to Loganair.
Training of Loganair’s pilots, cabin crew and engineers to work on the new aircraft is gathering pace, with the airline’s Glasgow-based engineers the latest to undergo training and proficiency checks on the ATR aircraft. This is 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.
“In selecting our future fleet, it’s important to have an aircraft which builds upon our environmental credentials while withstanding island weather conditions and providing accessibility for all customers in the communities we serve – we’ve found all those characteristics and more in the ATR turboprop.
“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.”
Nathalie Tarnaud Laude, Chief Executive Officer at aircraft manufacturer ATR, said: “We’re delighted to see Loganair – one of Europe’s most successful and long-established regional airlines – transition to ATR aircraft. They are the most environmentally efficient of any aircraft in their class and deliver greater comfort and cabin quietness for customers. With over 1,600 ATR aircraft in service worldwide and production continuing today, we’re confident that Loganair has made the right choice for its future fleet, and we look forward to further growing our partnership over the coming years.”