Loganair has been trialling a bigger passenger aircraft at Sumburgh as part of its plans for a future fleet.
The nominally 74 seat ATR 72-600 was on demonstration on Wednesday buzzing around the airport. The 600 version of the ATR 72 was introduced in 2010 and is used by a number of airlines and militaries.
The Franco-Italian company has delivered around 900 of the aircraft so far. The wider body allows 2 + 2 seats per row instead of the 2+1 arrangement of the present Saab aircraft used by Loganair.
Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “As part of our longer-term plans, we’re at the early stages of evaluating options for our future fleet. We were pleased to participate in a demonstration yesterday undertaken by ATR, the world’s largest manufacturer of regional aircraft, whose products are one of the options we are considering.”
Unusually, the twin-engined planes load cargo at the front and passengers at the rear entrance.
The trials are said to have “created a lot of interest” at Sumburgh and generated speculation that Loganair will be adding some larger aircraft to its fleet operating into Sumburgh.
The Saab 340 and 2000 aircraft presently used by Loganair are no longer in production.