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Transport / Retiring pilot Watt at the helm for Loganair’s last flight with Saab 340 plane

Captain Eddie Watt in the cockpit. Photos: Loganair

LOGANAIR has bid a fond farewell to two stalwarts of the company – the Saab 340 plane and Shetland pilot Eddie Watt.

Watt, Loganair’s longest serving pilot, is retiring after joining the company in 1996.

The airline has also now retired its Saab 340 fleet after more than 24 years of service.

The last Saab 340 flights to Shetland took place at Sumburgh Airport earlier this week.

Loganair’s final flight using the plane – with Watt at the helm – flew from Kirkwall to Inverness earlier today (Thursday) before departing for its last swoop down into Glasgow Airport, following the path of the first ever Loganair Saab 340 flight.

Today also marked the 41st anniversary of the first Saab 340 flight worldwide.

Loganair said the plane was a “workhorse of the skies”.

Its 18 Saab 340s completed more than 430,000 flights, with both passengers and cargo, and carried in excess of eight million customers over their lifetime.

Flight LM340 touching down at Glasgow airport earlier today.

The Saab 340s have been replaced by Loganair’s new ATR turboprops aircraft, which are larger, quieter and more efficient, allowing Loganair to carry up to 45 per cent more customers on some routes.

The airline said the ATR fleet will also help to boost resilience as there is greater availability of pilots licensed to fly the aircraft.

Loganair said the retiring Watt is celebrating his 65th birthday on Friday, adding that he is “renowned among crews and customers for his commentaries from the cockpit”.

He was joined by his wife Rosemary who was among the passengers on board the last Saab 340 flight.

Watt said: “It is fitting for me that I retire with the aircraft that has been the staple of my career.

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“Piloting the Saab 340, I have watched all of Scotland pass underneath me and it’s been an incredible 34 years flying with this beloved aircraft.”

Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles said: “It really is a historic moment for Loganair. The Saab 340s have been essential to our operation of island services over the years, connecting remote communities with the mainland and delivering over eight million customers along with food, newspapers, pets and mail.

“As someone whose aviation journey was prompted by a strong passion for flying, I am personally very sad to see these aircraft go, but we look forward to introducing our new ATR fleet to our customers who will love the space and comfort they offer.

“Today we celebrate another special retirement with the departure of Captain Eddie Watt after 34 years of service. He has made a remarkable contribution to Loganair, and we wish him well on his next chapter.”

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