GLASGOW, SCOTTLAND — Scottish carrier Loganair, the UK’s largest regional airline, returned to profitability in the financial year to 31 March 2022, the year in which the airline also celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The Glasgow-based airline recently released its audited accounts for the financial year, setting out a profit before tax of £4.98 million on a turnover of £161 million, following losses in each of the previous two years as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic struck the airline industry.

In the same year, Loganair became the UK’s third busiest airline behind British Airways and easyJet when measured by the number of flights operated. Despite reduced passenger volumes during the early part of the year amid Covid restrictions and related uncertainties, adversely impacting the total passenger numbers achieved for the full year, the airline carried more than 910,000 passengers and, in 2022, experienced its busiest summer to date.

The airline, which was put up for sale earlier this month, highlights the important role that its charter and contract operations have played in its return to profitability. It has expanded its contract work in support of the energy industry at Aberdeen and now counts several major football and Rugby SuperLeague teams amongst its client base for bespoke aircraft charter services.

The statutory accounts also document for the first time that Loganair has secured a new long-term, five-year contract from 1 February 2022 with Royal Mail to undertake its Highlands & Islands air services, delivering to Scottish islands by day and connecting to Royal Mail’s national network each night. Four larger ATR72-500 Freighter aircraft have been introduced to replace Saab 340 Freighters for the new contract, with the older Saab aircraft being retired as part of wider fleet renewal plans.

“The efforts of every member of Loganair’s team throughout the pandemic, and the diversified nature of our business, have enabled the airline to return to profitability far sooner than many of our UK airline industry peers. It has, without a doubt, been an incredibly tough two years. Even so, our trading results, strengthening balance sheet, and our comprehensive GreenSkies environment program means that we are wholly confident that Loganair is now in the strongest position of any UK regional airline to weather incoming storms affecting the wider economy,” Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s Chief Executive, said.

The airline has accompanied the filing of its report and accounts with the announcement of a new long-term agreement with Virgin Money (formerly Clydesdale Bank), continuing a working relationship with the bank that has now spanned over 20 years.

Repayments of the UK Government-backed CLBILS loan taken out by Loganair with Virgin Money to provide financial stability during the Covid-19 pandemic were made across the Summer of 2022. Loganair has now repaid the remainder of the CLBILS loan – some nine months ahead of the Government closure of the scheme – and has transitioned to a new, long-term financing agreement with Virgin Money.

“Together with the unstinting support of our staff and our owners, our relationship with Clydesdale Bank / Virgin Money has played an essential part in Loganair’s longevity and prosperity, never more so than during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re delighted that this long-standing arrangement is set to continue,” Hinkles added.

Earlier this month, Loganair confirmed that advisers had been appointed to find a buyer for the carrier. Brothers Stephen and Peter Bond have been sole owners of the company since 2012. Before that, they had partly owned it for 15 years.