On Wednesday September 28 Loganair celebrated half a century of serving the Scottish Orkney islands.
Operated by Loganair since 1967, the Orkney Inter-Isles Air Service connects the Orkney mainland with six outer islands, and includes the 1.7mile hop between Westray (IATA: WRY) and Papa Westray (PPW), officially recognised by Guinness as the world’s shortest flight.
Internal flights to the six outer isles – Eday (EOI), North Ronaldsay (NRL), Papa Westray, Sanday (NDY), Stronsay (SOY) and Westray – are operated under a Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract awarded by Orkney Islands Council.
Loganair has provided the service since it began in 1967, and was awarded a new four-year contract in a competitive tender earlier this year. The new contract runs until March 31, 2021, with an option for a further 12-month extension.
Last October saw the milestone passed of the millionth passenger carried by the service.
The 50th anniversary celebrations were made up of two events.
The first saw a gold-coloured Islander, brought to Orkney by manufacturers Britten-Norman to specially mark the occasion, fly a party including Loganair’s president Scott Grier and managing director Jonathan Hinkles, Orkney Islands Council convener Harvey Johnston and director of development and infrastructure Gavin Barr and Britten-Norman CEO Willian Hynet around the Orkney network.
The eight-passenger Islander in its various models has been the aircraft used throughout the last 50 years.
A plaque commemorating the 50th birthday was presented to managers at each of the seven airports, including Linda Hagan at Westray, whose father Jack Scott carried out the same job for many years after the Inter-Isles service began.
At Sanday, a new airfield terminal building was officially opened by Council convener Johnston.
The other event, to which the public was invited, was a celebration at Kirkwall airport with performances from Orkney musicians and a display of artwork by local schoolchildren, who had been invited to create pieces around the theme of Orkney in the Sky – past, present and future.
Two Loganair and Orkney Islands Council workers who have served throughout the entire 50-year period of the Inter-Isles Service were specially honoured – Kirkwall engineer Bryan Sutherland and Sanday airfield superintendent Jim Lennie.
Loganair’s Managing Director, Jonathan Hinkles, said: “The Orkney Inter-Isles Service is a jewel in our network and famous across the world. However, despite its fame, it’s also an essential life-line service for the people of Orkney, connecting the individual islands via a convenient air-link.
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