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Meet the pilot who counts sea life among his passengers

A Glasgow pilot is reflecting on his career to date, from cabin crew to flight deck, where he now operates Loganair’s scheduled Glasgow services to the Highlands and Islands.


Father of one, Aakash Sajid has been a pilot with Loganair for more than five years in its Glasgow base, but his career in aviation started much earlier when he enrolled in flight school at Brighton City Airport with FTA Global.

Today, flying between Scotland’s largest city and some of its most remote island communities, 30-year-old Aakash can recall flying an array of passengers from politicians and actors, namely Shetland BBC drama stars, to pets and even sea creatures, including live crabs and a baby seal.


Flying to the highlands offers a unique experience and is not without its challenges, explains Aakash.


It is a complicated job, and it certainly keeps you on your toes,said Aakash. “With operational challenges such as shorter runways and weather disruption to contend with, you need to be alert while flying.

However, flying these routes gives me such a great viewpoint of Scotland’s landscape. I’ll always be grateful for servicing this route as I met my partner when she worked for Loganair at Islay Airport.


Looking back, Aakash self-funded his pilot licence and training while also working part-time with EasyJet as cabin crew. He later completed the final stage of his training abroad in Poland before joining Jet2 as a flight dispatcher.

Pursuing a career as a pilot requires a big investment, he explained.


Some people invest in property, but my family invested in my career,” he said. “It was a big risk financially and required a lot of sacrifice, but one that paid off.

It’s a competitive industry and took me two and a half years to complete my training, but I was grateful to relocate to Glasgow and start my flying career as a Captain with Loganair. It’s been a dream of mine to fly planes from a young age.


Aakash currently operates the Saab340 fleet on routes from Glasgow to the Highlands and Islands including Shetland, Orkney, Stornoway and Benbecula.


Loganair announced last year it would retire all eight of the Swedish twin-engine turboprop Saab 340Bs as part of a $12 million sale agreement replacing them with ATR next-generation turboprops in 2023.

The replacement 48-seat ATR42s have the same crosswind landing capability but will offer a reduction in carbon emissions per seat by between 10 per cent and 27 per cent versus the Saab 340 aircraft on Highlands and Islands routes. They will also provide more seats and increased capacity for cargo and mail.


Aakash is among the pilots currently retraining on the new aircraft, which includes simulator training in Amsterdam.

Alongside his pilot career, Aakash is also an Armed Forces Reservist, which Loganair fully supports. The airline was recognised by the Ministry of Defence and presented with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award last year. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, it's a promise that those who serve or have served in the armed forces will be treated fairly and offered opportunity.


The award is recognition of the initiatives in place at Loganair to support individuals transitioning out of the armed forces into a new career or providing flexibility for reservists. This includes its work with charity Wings for Warriors, which trains wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women as professional pilots.


I’m really grateful for the flexibility to allow me to pursue both roles as Captain with Loganair and Army Reservist Private,added Aakash.

The people and culture are what make Loganair so special, and it’s a fantastic and rewarding career - definitely worth the investment for any aspiring pilots or young aviation fans.


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