The UK’s largest regional airline, Loganair, has achieved its first all-electric turnaround of an aircraft, helping to decarbonize its ground operations and deliver a better environment for communities.
The turnaround of an aircraft is a vital stage in flight operations and comprises a range of tasks to prepare a flight for departing after it has landed, such as disembarking and boarding passengers, loading and unloading luggage or cargo, cleaning, catering, and refueling.
The milestone took place at Stornoway Airport in the Outer Hebrides and follows Loganair’s £2 million investment in state-of-the-art ground handling technology.
The airline is acquiring almost 100 new pieces of ground equipment across its operation, including electric baggage tractors, electric luggage belts, solar-powered boarding ramps, and hybrid ground power units (GPUs). GPUs provide power to aircraft while they are parked at the gate, allowing crews to switch off their engines and reduce fuel consumption.
Once fully incorporated across Loganair’s ground operations in the Highlands and Islands, the new equipment will mitigate the need for over 70,000 liters of diesel annually, delivering greener operations that reduce the environmental impact of flying and providing a quieter, cleaner working environment for staff.
Electric ground handling is the latest initiative to be adopted by the airline as part of its GreenSkies environmental program.
Launched in 2021, GreenSkies saw Loganair introduce a range of measures to progress its ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2040, including a small mandatory charge on all fares to invest in accredited global carbon offsetting schemes.
It also introduced the GreenSkies Community Fund, which provides grants to establish local renewables projects, while the airline is also on track to renew its fleet by the end of this summer. Loganair’s new ATR turboprops support a 27% reduction in carbon emissions per seat compared with the Saab 340 aircraft they are replacing.
Loganair is additionally a key partner in trialing and testing future flight technologies.
Maurice Boyle, chief operations officer, Loganair, said: “We are incredibly proud of this historic moment in Loganair’s operations and the contribution it will make to our GreenSkies pledge to become carbon neutral by 2040.
Our new electric equipment replaces diesel-powered machinery, reducing our use of fossil fuels but also creating a much cleaner and user-friendly working environment for our staff.
Being first out the block is a great achievement for our Stornoway staff and great for the island community. I hope our customers will welcome our progress and get on board with us as we continue our journey towards sustainable aviation.”
Following Stornoway, Highlands and Islands airports in Sumburgh, Kirkwall, and Benbecula will soon benefit from Loganair’s new electric ground equipment, with the last remaining pieces of diesel-powered ground equipment being phased out by the end of this summer.
George Farquhar, director of airport operations at HIAL, said: “HIAL’s ambition is to become a net zero regional airport group. We have worked closely with Loganair to decarbonise airside ground operations and supporting infrastructure.
We are delighted that Stornoway Airport completed its first all-electric aircraft turnaround, and we look forward to continuing this joint initiative with Loganair at our other airports.”