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"Operating as Flybe"

Loganair acquires UK charter specialist Suckling Airways

8th July 2011

Loganair, Scotland’s Airline, has today announced that it is to acquire Suckling Airways, the Cambridge-based charter specialist.

Suckling is to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Loganair upon completion of the deal at the end of this month, and will continue to trade as a separate airline which holds its own licences and approvals.  It operates a fleet of five Dornier 328-100 fast turboprop aircraft on ad-hoc and contract charter flights, servicing an extensive customer base which includes high profile sports teams, political parties, blue-chip corporate clients and other airlines.   The aircraft seat 31 or 32 passengers and can fly throughout Europe. 


Suckling is also one of a limited number of airlines able to offer ad-hoc charter services to and from specialist airports such as London City.  The company has operating and engineering bases at Cambridge, Dundee and London City, employing a total of 60 staff.    No job losses are anticipated, although the two organisations will immediately commence working together to identify synergies and cost savings through joint purchasing of items such as fuel, insurance and ground handling.


Commenting on the acquisition, Loganair’s Chairman Scott Grier OBE said:


“The acquisition of Suckling Airways is a major change for Loganair, but one which reflects our increasing ambition to diversify and expand our business.   Today’s announcement brings a new, yet mature revenue stream from specialist charter flights into the Company.   We look forward to working with Mrs Merlyn Suckling and her team to develop its exciting business over the coming months and years whilst we continue to grow Loganair’s own operations as and when opportunities arise.”


Glasgow-based Loganair was founded in 1962 and now operates a fleet of 20 aircraft and employs 440 staff throughout Scotland to deliver a network of scheduled and charter services.    It operates its scheduled flights under its franchise agreement with Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, and has a codeshare agreement with British Airways to facilitate connections from the Highlands and Islands to London and beyond.   It also undertakes charter services for a variety of clients in the oil and gas industry and sports teams, and provides contract cargo services for clients including Royal Mail and newspaper distribution groups.   The company will continue to offer charter capacity using Saab 340 aircraft to serve both customer and geographical bases which complement those of Suckling Airways.


Loganair is delighted that Merlyn Suckling, Suckling Airways’ co-founder and Managing Director, has agreed to remain with the company until the end of the year.    Chairman Scott Grier said:


“I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and applaud the tremendous efforts which Merlyn, who founded the airline in 1986 with her late husband Roy, has made over the last 25 years to safely and successfully manage the company.   Dozens of other UK airlines have come and gone in that time, and the fact that Suckling Airways has survived and prospered is a credit to Merlyn’s hard work and tenacity.  I very much hope that the future progress of the airline under Loganair’s ownership will both do justice to her efforts and maintain the respect which Suckling Airways enjoys from its many loyal customers.”


Merlyn Suckling said:


“I am absolutely delighted that the airline Roy and I founded in 1986 is to move to a new chapter of its development under the wing of Scotland’s airline, Loganair.


“Next year, Loganair will celebrate 50 years of airline operations, which is a truly magnificent record of service. As a UK regional operator, we have enjoyed working alongside Loganair for many years, and we know we share the same ethos for providing an excellent customer experience. We are looking forward to joining them in this new venture.”

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