Posted on: 08 July 2011 by Mark Howells
Loganair has announced that it is to acquire Suckling Airways, whose current business model sees it operating capacity purchase agreement-style operations for Air France as well as charter flights.
Suckling will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Loganair upon completion of the deal, expected at the end of July, and will continue to trade as a separate airline which holds its own licences and approvals. The carrier operates a fleet of five Dornier 328-100 turboprops serving an extensive customer base which includes high profile sports teams, political parties, blue-chip corporate clients and other airlines. The aircraft seat 31 or 32 passengers and can fly throughout Europe.
Suckling, which reverted to its original name after some years operating as Scot Airways,has operating and engineering bases at Cambridge, Dundee and London City, employing a total of 60 staff. No job losses are anticipated, although the two organisations will begin work immediately to identify synergies and cost savings through joint purchasing of items such as fuel, insurance and ground handling.
Commenting on the acquisition, Loganair’s chairman Scott Grier remarked, “The acquisition of Suckling Airways is a major change for Loganair, but one which reflects our increasing ambition to diversify and expand our business. [This] brings a new, yet mature revenue stream from specialist charter flights into the company We look forward to working with Mrs Merlyn Suckling and her team to develop its exciting business over the coming months and years whilst we continue to grow Loganair’s own operations as and when opportunities arise.”
Loganair operates a fleet of 20 aircraft and employs 440 staff throughout Scotland. It operates its scheduled flights under its franchise agreement with Flybe and has a codeshare agreement with British Airways to facilitate connections from the Highlands and Islands to London and beyond. Like Suckling, it undertakes charter services for a variety of clients in the oil and gas industry and sports teams, and provides contract cargo services for clients including Royal Mail and newspaper distribution groups.
Merlyn Suckling, Suckling Airways’ co-founder and managing director, has agreed to remain with the company until the end of the year. “I am absolutely delighted that the airline [late husband] Roy and I founded in 1986 is to move to a new chapter of its development under the wing of Loganair,” she remarked. “Next year, Loganair will celebrate 50 years of airline operations, which is a truly magnificent record of service. As a UK regional operator, we have enjoyed working alongside Loganair for many years, and we know we share the same ethos for providing an excellent customer experience. We are looking forward to joining them in this new venture.”