Loganair will take to the air in its own right once again in autumn 2017 after nearly quarter of a century flying under franchise arrangements with other airlines. The UK carrier will become the national carrier of Scotland when it ends its current agreement with flybe ahead of next year’s winter schedule.
After 24 years of operating under franchise agreements with other airlines, Glasgow-based regional carrier Loganair will once again market its services and fly under its own name – introducing a new, definitively Scottish identity to the skies. The airline has also announced an expansion to its route network that includes an upgauge of capacity in existing markets and new international connections that will support essential connectivity to, from and within Scotland.
Loganair began life in 1962 as the air taxi service of the Logan Construction Company Ltd, operating a single Piper Aztec from Edinburgh. Almost immediately, it was apparent that there was a demand for scheduled services in addition to the primary role as an air taxi, and as such Loganair’s fleet and network grew to take in more remote islands and communities, including the inter-island scheduled network in Orkney from 1967 and in Shetland from 1970.
“Although Loganair has flown as a franchise carrier for larger airlines over the last 24 years, there is still a huge level of recognition and affinity for the Loganair name throughout Scotland and beyond.”Peter Simpson
Chief Executive Officer, Airline Investments Ltd
These niche operations helped support British Airways (BA) domestic connectivity over a 15 year franchise arrangement between 1993 and 2007, and for almost ten years a similar arrangement with flybe has been in place since 2007. This current franchise arrangement will conclude on August 31, 2017 due to a "failure to agree future operational standards and commercial arrangements".
Loganair says the two parties are “continuing to discuss potential opportunities to work together in future”, while a “long-standing and successful” codeshare arrangement with BA will also continue, enabling customers to make a single booking for a journey from points throughout the Highlands and Islands to London and onwards to BA’s worldwide network.
“This announcement is a major milestone in the 54-year history of Loganair,” said Peter Simpson, chief executive of Airline Investments Ltd, Loganair’s parent company.
“Although Loganair has flown as a franchise carrier for larger airlines over the last 24 years, there is still a huge level of recognition and affinity for the Loganair name throughout Scotland and beyond. We believe the time is right for Scotland’s Airline to now spread its wings once again, and are delighted to be introducing a bold new corporate identity to accompany this important move,” he added.
Loganair’s current schedule will provide over 1,000 flights each week across 46 routes, offering unrivalled connectivity for Scotland and with operations stretching as far afield as London, Norwich, Manchester, Dublin, and Bergen in Norway using a fleet of 28 aircraft. It has almost 300 flights each week to and from Glasgow, and is the largest operator at key airports throughout the Highlands & Islands including Inverness, Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Stornoway.
The extensive Loganair network also includes the world-famous ‘times subject to tide’ operations to the beach airport at Barra and the world’s shortest scheduled flight, linking the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray with daily flights taking only two minutes.
Alongside its scheduled services, undertakes an extensive range of contract services for Royal Mail and oil and gas companies. These will also carry the resurgent ‘Loganair – Scotland’s Airline identity’ confirms the carrier and after a number of recent successful contract awards, it is now “actively pursuing its ambitions to widen both its contract and scheduled service operations” in the future.
The airline’s recently launched summer 2017 schedule, its largest ever inventory, will see it introduce a non-stop service between Glasgow and the Norwegian city of Bergen – known as ‘the gateway to the fjords’. The twice weekly link will operate on Mondays and Fridays from May 5, 2017 to September 25, 2017 and is part of a sizeable expansion which will also see the airline’s schedule to Bergen bolstered by extra flights from Shetland and new direct flights from Orkney.
Scotland’s airline has also revealed the first regular service in recent years linking Shetland and Aberdeen with Vagar, the airport of the Faroe Islands, again starting in May. The service will operate on Fridays and Sundays from May 26, 2017 to September 3, 2017, and Loganair says it will “carefully evaluate demand” on the route with a view to moving to year-round operations in future.
“It’s always a pleasure to introduce new routes, and our links to Bergen and the Faroe Islands are great news for both leisure and business travellers. I’m also certain that we’ll see Norwegian and Faroese visitors taking full advantage of the wide range of leisure and retail options on offer in Scotland,” said Jonathan Hinkles, managing director, Loganair.
“Our summer schedule is a statement of intent as we announce our transition from the Flybe franchise arrangements to become an independent operator from September 1, 2017. As Scotland’s Airline, Loganair is strengthening its network and adding more seats and more flights than ever before,” he added.
Loganair will grow its overall capacity at Glasgow by a fifth next summer including the debut of a fourth weekday flight between Glasgow and Manchester, plus a new Sunday lunchtime service - providing enhanced connections to domestic UK destinations and the expanding range of long-haul destinations available via the English city. A fourth daily service between Inverness and Manchester, will also open up the wide range of connections available via Manchester to Highland travellers.
“We believe the time is right for Scotland’s Airline to now spread its wings once again, and are delighted to be introducing a bold new corporate identity to accompany this important move.”Peter Simpson
Chief Executive Officer, Airline Investments Ltd
Elsewhere an 18 per cent increase in seats between Glasgow and Stornoway will be facilitated through the introduction of larger 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft on three of the four weekday round trips - and use of the larger aircraft on selected weekend flights between Glasgow and Benbecula for the first time. The Swedish-built turboprops will also be deployed on one of two daily flights between Glasgow and Sumburgh during the summer. Meanwhile, a third weekday flight from Glasgow to Islay, and a second on Sundays, opening up a wide range of new domestic and international connections to and from Islay.
Away from Glasgow, a second weekly Bergen service from Sumburgh will operate between May 30, 2017 and August 29, 2017, a non-stop service linking Kirkwall on Orkney with Bergen will operate between May 13, 2017 and September 2, 2017 and new one-stop, same-plane services linking Manchester with Sumburgh and Stornoway, will reduce journey times.
A new timetable for Edinburgh-Stornoway services will ensure that the route “remains commercially viable despite new charges for airlines being introduced by Edinburgh Airport in April 2017,” says Loganair, while there will be an expansion of services between Edinburgh and Wick with the introduction of a second flight on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays during the summer schedule.
Continued expansion outside Scotland will also see the introduction of a new four-times weekly service linking Loganair’s base at Norwich with the Channel Island of Jersey.