Ever thought that air flights can be so much short that even a single minute is enough to reach your destination ?. Somehow this seems to be weird because normally flights are well scheduled and takes enough time to reach destination so that it feels like that we have traveled some distance and also enjoyed our journey. But here is the flight which just takes 53 seconds to complete it’s route.
The Loganair Westray to Papa Westray route is the shortest scheduled passenger flight in the world. Flights on this route are scheduled for one and a half minutes, and actual flying time is closer to one minute. The record for the fastest flight is 53 seconds. The route is flown by Loganair, a Scottish regional airline that serves Scotland’s Highlands and islands.
The route between the Orkney Islands of Westray and Papa Westray is a subsidized public service obligation. The Orkney Islands Council awards the route, along with several other routes throughout the islands, through a tendering process. The flights began in 1967, establishing the record for the world’s shortest scheduled flights, and they have been continuously operated by Loganair. In 2013, the contract was again awarded to Loganair over two competing bids.
Loganair Limited is a Scottish regional airline founded in 1962, with its registered office on the grounds of Glasgow Airport in Paisley, Renfrewshire. Its tag line is Scotland’s Airline.
Loganair provides services for the night mail flights on behalf of Royal Mail. In addition to its main base at Glasgow, the airline has hubs at Edinburgh Airport, Inverness Airport, Dundee Airport and Aberdeen Airport. The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence. It is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
Loganair was established on 1 February 1962 by Willie Logan of the Logan Construction Company Ltd, operating as its air charter arm with a Piper PA-23 Aztec based at Edinburgh.
In 1967 Loganair took delivery of three Britten-Norman Islander twin-engine eight-seat light commuter airliners and began regular flights between the Orkney Islands, and started operating in Shetland in 1970. In 1966, after Renfrew Airport closed, the airline established its head office at Glasgow Airport. This aspect of Loganair’s operations ceased on 31 March 2006 when the new contract for air ambulance work was awarded to Gama Aviation.
Between 1968 and 1983 the company was owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Towards the end of this period, Loganair bought Short 360 and Fokker F27 Friendship aircraft.The company brought jet aircraft into the fleet with two British Aerospace 146s. In December 1983 it became a subsidiary of the Airlines of Britain Group. Further aircraft were added to the fleet: British Aerospace Jetstream 31, British Aerospace Jetstream 41, and British Aerospace ATP aircraft. In the late 1980s Loganair was the fastest growing scheduled operator at Manchester Airport, and, in terms of number of flights, was the airport’s second busiest carrier.
Flights between Westray Airport and Papa Westray Airport occur daily in both directions, except on Saturdays, when only flights from Westray to Papa Westray are available, and on Sunday, when only flights from Papa Westray to Westray are available. The total distance covered by the flights is 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi), which is about the same length as the runway at Edinburgh airport. The flights are always combined with flights from and to Kirkwall Airport (44 km (27 mi) distance), flying in a narrow triangle.
The fare is £17, same for all inter-Orkney flights.The flights are, like most internal Orkney flights, not bookable through the normal booking form on the Loganair website or air travel agent websites. Instead they are booked over telephone or email.
Pilot Stuart Linklater flew the short hop a record more than 12,000 times, more than any other pilot, before he retired in 2013. Linklater set the record for the fastest flight between the islands at 53 seconds.
Loganair operates this flight with one of its two Pilatus Britten-Norman BN2B-26 Islander aircraft. The Islander is a high-wing, twin piston engine, propeller-driven aircraft. It is flown by a single pilot, and there is seating for eight passengers in the passenger cabin. One additional seat usually remains empty next to the pilot.
Loganair’s chief executive, Jim Cameron, described the Islander as “robust” and “well suited to the vagaries of Scottish weather”. Summarizing expert opinion of the Islander, Alastair Dalton of The Scotsman said the aircraft “had a good safety record and had proved versatile in operating from the shortest and roughest Highland runways”.
Loganair is planning to introduce electric aircraft to the Orkney Islands by 2021 due to the short distance between the islands that would make such flights possible.
The flight numbers change daily and repeat with a weekly cycle. Loganair Flight 312 departs from Westray Airport to Papa Westray Airport on Monday morning, and Flight 317 returns to Westray that afternoon. On Tuesdays through Fridays, the flight numbers to Papa Westray are 323, 333, 343, and 353. The return flight numbers are 328, 338, 348, and 358. Flight 362 or 363 is the Saturday flight from Westray to Papa Westray, and on Sundays, Flight 378 is the return flight to Westray.
The Orkney Inter-Isles Air Service connects the Orkney mainland with six outer islands, Eday, North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Sanday, Stronsay, and Westray – and the airline saw its millionth passenger in October.
Loganair’s managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “The Orkney Inter-Isles Service is a jewel in our network and famous across the world. However, despite its fame, it’s also an essential life-line service for the people of Orkney, connecting the individual islands via a convenient air-link.”