LOGANAIR has raised more than £18,500 for its charity partner Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) following a special weekend of events staged to pay tribute to its Saab 340 fleet.
The UK’s largest regional airline is retiring its venerable Saab 340s after completing more than 24 years of service.
To celebrate the historic occasion, Loganair opened the doors to its hangar at Glasgow Airport for a charity visitor day on Sunday 21 January. All proceeds from the £25 tours, where a Saab 340, ATR 42 and Twin Otter were available to view, went directly to CHAS, which supports children and young people with life-shortening conditions.
On Saturday 20 January and Sunday 21 January the airline also offered eight 45-minute circuit flights over Loch Lomond and the Clyde coast, with capacity for 270 people, followed by an additional flight between Glasgow and Aberdeen. The profits from the £89 ‘farewell’ flights, which sold out in less than 12 hours, raised even more than expected thanks to Glasgow Airport waiving its usual airport fees to support the charity drive.
Over the course of the weekend, a range of Loganair and Saab memorabilia was available to purchase including a bespoke Saab 340 book, while funds were boosted further by a raffle. Among the sought-after prizes were overnight breaks donated by Courtyard by Marriott and a Loch Lomond speedboat tour. A silent auction for a day’s work experience in Loganair’s Glasgow hangar was also held, which raised £250.
Aviation enthusiasts came from far and wide to attend the weekend celebrations, and travelled from as far afield as Germany, Switzerland, Hungary and even Hong Kong.
Luke Lovegrove, CCO Loganair, said: “We were determined to send off our last Saab 340 aircraft with the fanfare they deserve, but had no idea our plans would be so warmly embraced by the aviation community. Thanks to their enthusiasm and the generosity of our staff, who kindly volunteered their time, we raised over £18,500 for CHAS, which will make a big difference to the families that they support.
“It was a fitting end to a fantastic 24 years of operating these workhorses of the skies.”
Rami Okasha, Chief Executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), Loganair’s charity partner said:
“Loganair has used this momentous event to support the work of CHAS, helping to raise vital funds and awareness so we can provide unwavering care to children who may die young and their families, at every step on this hardest of journeys.
“We are aware that the Saab Fleet is highly regarded and holds fond memories for many people. It was this aircraft that took CHAS families on a scenic tour of the Highlands and Islands back in Spring 2022. This was the first time many of our families had ever experienced being on a plane, so it holds fond memories for CHAS too. We are delighted that this is our third year of being partnered with Loganair and we are extremely appreciative of their continued efforts in supporting our charity.”
Ronald Leitch, Interim Chief Operations Officer for AGS Airports, said:
“The programme to retire the Saab 340 has been a fantastic success and Loganair should be congratulated for ensuring that its final goodbye helped raise so much for such a great cause. The fleet has served Loganair and its passengers well for decades, so it was only fitting the aircraft got the send-off it deserved. I must also say congratulations to Captain Eddie Watt, who piloted the last flight on what was his final day before retirement. I’m sure it’s a memory he’ll fondly remember for years to come.
“The final flight was well attended not only by the airline’s staff, but also many people across the terminal given its long history of operating in and out of Glasgow and our sister airports in Aberdeen and Southampton. It’s an aircraft that was synonymous with the uniqueness of Loganair as an airline and it will be strange not hearing the distinctive sound of the Saab 340’s propellors.”
A former mainstay of Loganair’s islands services, the airline’s Saab 340s have 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 one of the airline’s Saab 340s was converted to be used as an additional air ambulance. 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.