The Spirit of Orkney Saab 340 is the first of 13 aircraft to be completely refitted, repainted and enhanced through airline’s renewal programme –
Flybe franchise partner Loganair today (Monday, February 29) introduced the first of 13 aircraft to be completely transformed as part of the airline’s £3.5 million renewal programme for its Saab 340 fleet.
Named The Spirit of Orkney in acknowledgment of the links between Loganair and one of the many island communities it has served during the last 54 years, the aircraft’s interior and exterior have been completely overhauled at a cost of almost £270,000.
The interior of the Saab 340 has been completely stripped out and renewed to provide enhanced comfort. Improvements to the aircraft include:
- The installation of new lightweight, ergonomically-designed modern seating to provide improved leg room
- All interior panels have been recovered to help reduce vibration
- Latest technology sound proofing has been fitted between the interior panels and aircraft structure to improve cabin acoustics
- New LED lighting to enhance cabin ambience
- New carpeting through the cabin
The final touch of the renewal project saw the aircraft painted in franchise partner Flybe’s new purple branding. It is the fourth Loganair-owned aircraft to feature Flybe’s distinctive exterior colour branding.
Loganair’s engineering crews also co-ordinated the renewal project to be completed in conjunction with the aircraft’s Heavy Maintenance Check (HMC).
The airline’s highly-skilled engineering crews carry out these checks on each aircraft in the Loganair fleet every 36 months. The intensive process involves stripping back the aircraft to the basic airframe structure, which is then scrutinised using X-ray machines to ensure its integrity.
Both engines and the flight control surfaces are removed to give access to the aircraft’s structure and internal systems. This enables parts to be checked, cleaned, lubricated and replaced, if required, before the aircraft is rebuilt and rigorously tested. In total, £350,000 is invested in each HMC carried out by Loganair.
The combined renewal and maintenance work was completed by a team of 32 engineers working in shifts seven days a week. Approximately 7000 man hours were invested in the process.
Loganair chairman David Harrison said: “We are extremely pleased with the completion of this, the first of 13 Saab 340 aircraft to be upgraded as part of our renewal programme, and are grateful to Transport Minister Derek Mackay for taking the time to see the end result for himself.
“Our engineers and support teams put an incredible amount of time and effort into the project, and I’m certain our customers will appreciate their endeavour and enjoy the comfort benefits the renewal project brings to the Saab 340 fleet.
“This Saab 340 renewal programme again underlines the commitment made by Loganair at the beginning of the year to embark on a significant investment programme to enhance the fleet and ultimately improve customer experience.”
The three-year Saab 340 renewal project is part of a wider £15 million investment programme previously announced by Loganair, which in the 2015/16 financial year includes:
- £4m on the purchase of two 50-seater Saab 2000 aircraft
- £1.5m to buy a 31-seater Dornier 328 turboprop
- £6m investment in a new spares hub at Glasgow Airport which now houses the most regularly-used parts to allow for faster and more efficient servicing and repairs
In addition, Loganair has invested heavily in its engineering operation, and now employs more engineers than at any other time in its history.
Minister for Transport and Islands Derek Mackay said: “I’m pleased to see Loganair investing in the fleet that serves our island communities. The upgrades they are making to their aircraft will improve the passenger experience, offering those on board greater comfort and convenience.
“Loganair has embarked on a significant programme of improvements, including engineering support, and is making significant investment in new planes and the existing fleet.
“This is another welcome step in that process and I hope passengers will start to see the benefit of this investment as soon as possible.”
The 13 Saab 340 aircraft make up the bulk of the 28-strong fleet operated by Loganair, which includes two further 340 freight aircraft, four 50-seat Saab 2000, four 31-seat Dornier 328, one Twin Otter and two eight-seat Britton-Norman Islander aircraft. The airline also operates a further two Twin Otters on behalf of the Scottish Government for the Barra, Tiree and Campbeltown routes.