Loganair has announced an agreement for “the renewal and futureproofing of its aircraft”, which will include the retirement of the carrier’s Saab 340B aircraft.
The Scottish airline currently operates 42 aircraft – a mixture of turboprops and jets – including eight of the Swedish twin-engine turboprop Saab 340Bs.
These will now be retired as part of a $12 million sale agreement, to be replaced by eight ATR next-generation turboprops in 2023.
Loganair said that the Saab 340s had “formed the mainstay of flights to and from the Scottish islands for over 20 years, and transformed accessibility for customers with reduced mobility as the only aircraft in their class capable of accommodating those requiring lift-on and lift-off assistance”.
The replacement 48-seat ATR42s have the same crosswind landing capability, but will offer a reduction in carbon emissions per seat by between 10 per cent and 27 per cent versus the Saab 340 aircraft on Highlands and Islands routes.
They will also provide more seats, and increased capacity for cargo and mail.
The Saab 340s will gradually leave the fleet between now and July 2023, and will continue to fly “with new operators in North America”.
Loganair first operated the aircraft in 1999, and at its peak there were 17 Saab 340s in the carrier’s fleet. The airline is planning a formal send-off for the aircraft, with farewell flights set to be announced in due course.
It was recently announced that Loganair’s current owners are looking to sell the airline, with CEO Jonathan Hinkles stating that “after 25 years of involvement in Loganair including the last ten years as sole owners, our shareholders Stephen and Peter Bond are working to find a new custodian for Scotland’s Airline”.
Commenting on the latest news 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.”