Loganair said yesterday the largest contract in its history would see it deliver letters and parcels to and from Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles on behalf of the Royal Mail.
The value of the five-year deal was undisclosed – Royal Mail did not want the figure made public – but it puts all previous Loganair contracts in the shade.
It is expected to create 24 jobs, including new positions for pilots and engineers in Aberdeen and Inverness as well as ground-handling roles in Orkney and Shetland.
Paisley-based Loganair previously operated the mail service linking Inverness with Stornoway and Benbecula.
Its success in winning a larger contract, taking in Shetland and Orkney, is at the expense of Denmark’s BenAir, which previously served the northern isles.
Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “It is the largest single contract award in Loganair’s 54-year history.
“The creation of 24 new jobs at four locations in Scotland to support the new contract is fantastic news.
“The training of new pilots and engineers for our expanded network of services for Royal Mail is already under way and will significantly increase the scale of Loganair’s employment at both Inverness and Aberdeen airports.”
Effective from today, the new deal means Loganair is one of only two airlines used by Royal Mail on its mail air freight programme delivering letters and parcels to Scotland’s main islands and into the wider UK postal network.
Loganair will use larger Saab 340 Freighter aircraft on dedicated services to Orkney and Shetland, increasing capacity for mail and small parcel deliveries to the northern isles.
It will also have new responsibilities for linking Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness, while continuing to fly between Inverness and the mail hub at East Midlands as part of Royal Mail’s overnight delivery network.
The carrier is expanding its cargo fleet of Saab 340s from two to four, including one on standby at Inverness, which will be exclusively used on Royal Mail’s network and carry the postal service’s insignia.
Royal Mail logistics director Euan McMurdo said: “Royal Mail is proud to be the universal provider for mail throughout all of Scotland and serve all 2.5million addresses in the country.
“The introduction of larger aircraft on our services to and from Orkney and Shetland will double the freight capacity on these flights, which we’re sure will be warmly welcomed by island residents and local businesses alike.”
Loganair also said it was continuing with long-standing arrangements to carry mail on regular scheduled flights between Glasgow, Islay, Barra and Tiree, together with guaranteeing mail deliveries to five outer isles of Orkney on its inter-isles air service.