Annual archive

Isle of man legend-of-the-skies passes baton to the latest local pilot

After 14,000 hours of flying, a local Loganair pilot has landed in Isle of Man for the final time as the team he has been leading for the last five years gathered to meet his final flight into the island, celebrated by a water canon salute.


Stephen Thursfield retires as Loganair’s Isle of Man Base Captain today as he reaches the age of 65, and the local team prepares to continue Stephen’s passion for connecting the island with the mainland for years to come.

Among team members on the ground to meet Stephen, as his final flight touched down, was recently qualified Loganair First Officer, Joe Haddock (26), from Laxey. Joe becomes the latest Isle of Man resident to join the Loganair team, picking up the baton from Stephen. The pair first met seven years ago when Joe was working as a dispatcher at Ronaldsway.


Stephen’s final flight took place between Isle of Man and Liverpool on 18 March 2024, and he was joined on his journey by First Officer Macalan Paterson, Cabin Crew Manager Carolyn White, and Cabin Crew Molly Bentham.

Stephen’s wife, Penny, along with wider family and friends, were also in attendance at Ronaldsway Airport to celebrate his final landing – including his newest one-week-old granddaughter Freya.


Stephen became a pilot 40 years ago after he developed a passion for flying while taking photos from the sky. He was a photographer for Leicestershire Museums and would be flown in vintage aircraft to collect aerial images. It was then that Stephen fell in love with flying and decided to train to become a pilot.

His career has seen him fly vintage aircraft to display shows across Europe, transport post to remote island communities, and deliver French footballers to their games before returning them home again.


Now, as he touches down for the last time, Stephen has set his sights on a new adventure as he looks to set off on his motorbike to travel around Europe, and he will also be out and about closer to home on Isle of Man collecting photographs for his growing collection.


Commenting on his retiral, Stephen said:

“I still feel like the new boy taking off to the skies each day, so I can’t quite believe that today I touch down at Ronaldsway Airport for the last time.

Flying has been more than a career for me, and for the last 40 years, I find myself lucky enough to say that I have had the time of my life flying all over the UK and beyond in so many different aircraft and in such varied roles.

It has been an honour to help mentor new recruits like Joe and lead our local team on the island, and I wish them all the best as they take over and support the people of Isle of Man for years to come.”


Maurice Boyle, Chief Operations Officer, Loganair, said:

“40 years of flying– what an achievement.

Stephen is an incredible role model for all of our new recruits and will be missed by staff and passengers alike. We wish him all the best for the future and thank him for his years in service for Loganair and, more generally, across the flying community. He is an inspiration to many.”


Tim Crookall, Department of Infrastructure Minister, Isle of Man Government, said:

"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Steve for his unwavering service and dedication to the Island over the years. With certainty, we believe that his energy and enthusiasm will continue to enrich our community and inspire those fortunate enough to know him."


Loganair flies from Isle of Man direct to Birmingham, London City, Heathrow, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newquay. The airline recently announced an enhanced 2024 summer schedule from Ronaldsway Airport with greater connectivity across its services to Heathrow, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Birmingham.


Isle of Man’s important London Heathrow connection will see a boost this summer with a new earlier arrival time into Heathrow, opening up a much wider range of same-day flight connections to North America. The daily Heathrow service will now leave the Isle of Man at 9.45 am and arrive at London Heathrow Terminal 2 at 11:20 am, which means connections to the likes of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Seattle are now possible.

All Loganair fares include a checked baggage allowance and, on flights of over 45 minutes scheduled time on our Embraer and ATR aircraft, complimentary in-flight refreshments. With more seats to more destinations than ever before, Loganair expects to serve well over one million Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers on its flights in 2024 – and has gluten and dairy-free snack options available, too.