(Glasgow) yesterday celebrated 50 years as an airline. The pictured SAAB 340B G-LGNF (msn 192) operating as a Flybe franchise wears a a special “Serving Scotland for 50 Years 1962-2012” logo by the nose and mid-section for the special occasion.
The company’s fleet of 20 aircraft is now carrying the new logo featuring a Saltire and the Loganair name.
Read the interview of CEO Scott Grier in the Herald Scotland: CLICK HERE
Loganair was established on February 1, 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 grew. As the network expanded to take in more remote islands and communities, Loganair’s scheduled network began to emerge.
In 1964 Loganair mounted an inter-island scheduled network in Orkney and a similar network in Shetland commenced in 1970, and the strong association with these island communities continues today. Air ambulance services were established in 1967 covering Coll, Colonsay, Oronsay, Mull and Oban, and Loganair is proud to maintain the relationship with the Scottish Ambulance Service, and to continually provide air ambulance cover with dedicated Britten Norman Islander aircraft at Glasgow, Kirkwall and Lerwick.
Under the ownership of the Royal Bank of Scotland between 1968 and 1983, the Loganair network, serving the Highlands and Islands, was assuming its now familiar shape. The growth was spurred by the rationalisation program that British Airways commenced in 1975 with the transfer of ‘thin’ routes to Loganair. Grasping the opportunity, Loganair’s scheduled network grew, and Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles were served comprehensively from Glasgow and Edinburgh, and mainland routes were now firmly established. In 1979, Loganair launched an air service between Glasgow and Derry, with Northern Ireland becoming the focus of expansion, as the stage was now set for the next major step forward – a hub of business routes.
Firmly established as Scotland’s Airline, new horizons were sought, and in 1980 Loganair took over the Belfast to Edinburgh route from British Airways. In 1981, Loganair faced the might of the flag carrier and competed on the Glasgow to Belfast route, stealthily managing to win market share by transferring its operations to Belfast City Airport. Manchester then became the focus of attention, as Loganair commenced daily services to Edinburgh, Belfast City and Glasgow.
With business traffic representing an ever-increasing proportion of Loganair’s annual passenger carryings, Loganair acquired larger aircraft, the Shorts 360 and Fokker Friendship. In September 1983, the British Midland Group took a controlling interest in Loganair, and riding a wave of success and optimism the time came for Loganair to enter the jet market. The BAe 146-200 jet, known as the ‘Whisper Jet’, was at the forefront of short-haul aircraft technology providing a high level of passenger comfort and load-carrying capacity, and two jets were brought into the fleet to expand the growing network to include services to the Channel Islands and mainland Europe.
The fleet continued to grow with the acquisition of BAe Jetstream 31, Jetstream 41, and ATP aircraft, and in the late 1980’s Loganair had a comprehensive schedule and charter network. Loganair became the second busiest airline at Manchester, the dominant carrier at Belfast City airport, and a significant player in the development of scheduled services at Southampton. With aircraft utilisation being such a vital factor, Loganair also secured contracts with the Post Office for the night movement of mail and datapost.
However, the promising eighties gave way to the turbulent nineties, and a reorganisation of the British Midland Group activities in 1994 saw the transfer of Loganair’s cross-border services and associated aircraft to Manx Airlines (Europe). 1994 also saw the significant forging of a relationship between Loganair and British Airways in Scotland, as Loganair became British Airways’ second franchise operator, with the residual Scottish internal routes being flown in British Airways livery, but with the same professionalism that typifies the Loganair operation. Whilst still under the ownership of the British Midland Group, a further transfer of the main internal Scottish services took place in 1996.
March 2004 saw a transfer of routes and aircraft from British Airways CitiExpress with Loganair now operating the Glasgow to Benbecula, Stornoway, Shetland and Isle of Man routes, as well as Shetland to Aberdeen.
After a 14 year franchise association with British Airways, Loganair forged a new franchise partnership with Europe’s largest regional carrier, Flybe, in July 2008. Loganair began operating under the Flybe brand on October 28, 2008.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems.
Loganair’s routes from Glasgow:
Click on the map to enlarge.