Loganair retires Saab 340

Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, has retired its venerable Saab 340 fleet after more than 24 years of service, with a VIP send-off of the last Saab flight conducted by the airline.

 Flight LM340 –which was named after the iconic aircraft – flew from Kirkwall to Inverness before departing for its last majestic swoop down into Glasgow Airport, following the path of the first-ever Loganair Saab 340 flight. On Thursday, 25 January, also marked the 41st anniversary of the first Saab 340 flight worldwide.

A workhorse of the skies and the former mainstay of Loganair’s islands services, the airline’s 18 Saab 340s completed more than 430,000 flights, both passenger and cargo and carried in excess of 8 million customers over their lifetime.

 In 2012, a Loganair Saab 340 carried the Olympic flame to Shetland, Orkney, and Stornoway in the Western Isles, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, two of the airline’s Saab 340s were converted to be used as additional air ambulances. This ensured remote patients could access vital healthcare on the mainland.

The Saab 340s are being replaced by Loganair’s new ATR turboprops aircraft, which are larger, quieter, and more efficient, allowing Loganair to carry up to 45% more customers on some routes and supporting its ambition of offering greater numbers of lower air fares. The ATR fleet will also help to boost the resilience of Loganair as there is greater availability of pilots licensed to fly the aircraft.

 Loganair’s last Saab 340 flight was flown by Captain Eddie Watt, who tomorrow celebrates his 65th birthday and will retire from the business. A Shetlander, Eddie is Loganair’s longest-serving pilot, after joining the airline on 1 October 1996. He is renowned among crews and customers for his commentaries from the cockpit and was joined by his wife, Rosemary, who was among the passengers on board.

The flight was crewed by Lionel McClean, also completing his last commercial flight before retiring in April, and Nichola Charlish, who is Loganair’s longest-serving cabin crew member in Aberdeen.

 LM340 touched down to a salute by water cannons and a piper on the tarmac before taxiing into Loganair’s hangar at Glasgow Airport.

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