Regional airline Flybe will go head-to-head with Loganair on routes to Orkney, Shetland and the western isles after their long-standing franchise deal ends in the autumn.
A new five-year franchise agreement between Flybe and Eastern Airways is expected to be signed within weeks.
It will see Eastern, which has scheduled domestic and short-haul international and private charter services from UK airports including Aberdeen, Cardiff, Durham Tees Valley, Humberside, Leeds-Bradford, Norwich, Newcastle and Southampton, operating under the Flybe brand.
As well as the current Eastern routes, which include Scottish flights from Aberdeen to Wick and Stornoway, plus services from the Granite City to airports in England, Wales and Norway, Flybe is adding new services to Sumburgh from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Flybe also unveiled plans to start Aberdeen-Kirkwall, Stornoway-Glasgow and Glasgow-Manchester services.
Under a separate joint revenue and risk sharing agreement, Humberside-based Eastern will supply four aircraft for existing Flybe routes from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester.
Exeter-headquartered Flybe said the new tie-up would “significantly improve connectivity for Scotland”.
Christine Ourmieres-Widener, chief executive, Flybe, added: “We already operate flights at a number of common airports and this will enable passengers to connect to a greater number of destinations, across the UK and into Europe.
“Combined with our flights to Heathrow from Edinburgh and Aberdeen, this demonstrates our strong commitment to serving Scotland.”
Eastern chief executive Richard Lake said: “This alliance will benefit both airlines as not only does it strengthen Flybe’s network, but broadens our distribution and enhances connection opportunities for our customers through its global airline association.
“We have specialised in fixed-wing flying in the oil and gas market for many years and our expertise will provide a greater opportunity to further develop offshore connectivity to Flybe’s network.”
Although contracts are not yet finalised, Flybe said flights would start operating under the new arrangements from September 1.
Last November, Paisley-based Loganair revealed it would fly solo to and from north and north-east airports from September 2017 after the collapse of its eight-year-old franchise deal with Flybe.
Loganair later announced a string of new flights, calling its new summer schedule “a statement of intent” before it takes over routes currently operated in par