View Full Version : Shetland Airlines

24th Jun 2001, 20:51
Article in the Sunday Times [Scotland] about this new start up airline in 2002 linking the north of Scotland with the continent.
Does anybody know any details?


24th Jun 2001, 20:58
Yes, L-1011's, out of Wick, with executive class only. Guess who?

24th Jun 2001, 21:34
and with options on 12 A380s and 10 Sonic cruisers. :)

25th Jun 2001, 03:58
No Idea, unless its one GUV's fantasy airlines !

Happiness in a warm Tristar operating out of Kirkwall and sumburgh..now theres a thought.

My Arse! :)

25th Jun 2001, 12:48
The local (Shetland paper) said Dornier 228/328s, based at LSI.

25th Jun 2001, 22:36
The full story ...

The Shetland Times Ltd.
Thursday 29th March
By Jim Tait
A NEW airline company, which intends to centre its operations at Sumburgh
Airport, was set up yesterday.
Shetland Airlines Limited will initially look at linking the North of Scotland
with European destinations, mainly Scandinavian, having targeted the charter
and holiday trade as a first concern.
But being based here the route between Sumburgh and the UK mainland would seem
an obvious capture. British Airways has regained the running of the service
from its franchise company, British Regional Airlines (BRA), and doubts remain
about how much priority will be given to it.
A separate factor could be the Scottish ExecutiveUs recent decision to invite
Shetland Islands Council to put its case for running Sumburgh Airport, as the
council has the potential to be a major investor in the airline.
The SICUs development trust recently bought shares worth over #4 million in the
Faroese shipping company Smyril Line, and senior councillors and officials have
stressed the need to strengthen links to North Atlantic destinations.
The new company currently has three directors and shareholders, businessman Ken
Beer, who has assumed the position of chairman, local councillor Drew Ratter
and chartered accountant Peter Villa, an aviation expert and former managing
director of Air UK Ltd.
Mr BeerUs company Kildrummy Technologies Ltd is a multi-national concern,
selling project control solutions - people and knowledge - as well as supplying
computer software.
Having subsidiaries, offices or close working partnerships in many countries
has not only meant building up a formidable network of business contacts, it
has given him a daily insight into the problems of travel and transport all
over the globe.
He said the idea of starting an airline originally transpired 18 months ago,
during dinner with his accountant at Burrastow House.
RWe were sitting waiting for the meal and bemoaning the fact that a plane had
been cancelled. I was saying TI could run an airline better than thatU. After
thinking more I thought I wouldnUt mind having a shot at it. I got to know some
airline people, started talking, and found a genuine interest.S
Mr Villa, with more than 20 years experience as a senior manager in the airline
industry, became a key player in the concept, and is producing the companyUs
business plan. He strongly believes that islands should have some degree of
control over their own air services.
RMy view is that they have to have some interest, otherwise they are at the
mercy of the commercial wishes of outside operators.S
He referred to Jersey and Guernsey as an example. Both islands had recently
lost their Heathrow link and had been pushed down to Gatwick. And he believed
the same could soon happen to the Isle of Man.
RThese services are vitally important to the business interests of the
Both SIC convener Tom Stove and chief executive Morgan Goodlad highlighted the
Faroese airline Atlantic Airways, an island-run company which provided an
excellent service to its population.
RI think anything to do with running our external transport from our home base
has to be looked at favourably,S Mr Goodlad said.
Mr Stove said he had only limited knowledge of the new company but agreed it
would be a great advantage having an airline based at Sumburgh.
He told how he once flew with Atlantic Airways in difficult conditions and they
pulled out the stops to get to Faroe because they were based there. He did not
believe that would have happened with ShetlandUs current provider.
RThe more control we have over our links the better. This is a very exciting
Shetland Airlines Ltd intends to initially lease three aircraft, with the
probability of that number rising to five in due course. It is estimated that
somewhere between #10 and #20 million will be required and Mr Beer is confident
that will be secured.
On the timescale he said it would likely be towards the end of 2002 before the
planes were in the air.
RI would be surprised if we could lay our hands on an aircraft inside a year.
You are probably talking about 18 months before we are operational. You have
got to be able to show you can run your service without passengers for six
Mr Villa said it would be a Rrelatively small operationS to start with but he
believed that would build up. It would be Ran insurance policyS if the Aberdeen
service was jeopardised in any way.
Mr Beer was unwilling to be drawn on any plans his company may have for the
Sumburgh-Scottish mainland route, although its headquarters will be here.
RThe bread and butter has to come from routes that are not flown currently and
we believe we have spotted a few.S
A recent study concluded that Shetland alone does not generate enough traffic
to support a viable airline based here. It would be necessary to supplement the
operation with other routes. Those identified, all from Aberdeen, included
London City, Oslo, Paris and potentially Amsterdam.
The study also believed Shetland could accommodate significant increases in
tourism, even in peak months, but it was difficult for authorities here to
influence BRAUs fare structure at present.
There was also no reason why a new operation could not compete for oil company
charter contracts between Aberdeen and Scatsta, the study concluded.
Although Mr Beer does not believe it is an option to compete with British
Airways he has specific ideas on what would benefit the Shetland service.
RCustomer service is particularly necessary when you are flying to islands.
People can get marooned, either on the island or trying to get to it. It is how
you look after your customers.
RAnother thing I think that would help is a different kind of aircraft. If you
halve the size of the aircraft and double the frequency of flights you provide
a better service. You encourage more people to fly. If you have large aircraft
with 12 people in them you are going to have a dwindling spiral. It is much
easier with smaller aircraft.S
Mr Beer said ideally passengers should also be able to fly both ways - to
Aberdeen and back and vice versa - in the same day.
RThat would also make a difference to the number of business travellers and
help to hold prices down.S
A recent telephone survey conducted by Shetland Islands Council concluded that
the average price thought to be fair for flying to Aberdeen from Sumburgh was
Mr Beer said he thought it was unlikely that would be realistic due to the high
extras involved, including landing charges and tax. But he agreed that offering
a cheaper fare was important.
RThe only way to bring the price down is through volume. [But] I think many
people would say they could live with the current costs if the service was
RWhat is vitally important is to provide a service that makes people want to
fly. That is true on any route. That is the reason why a concentration on
customer service makes smaller airlines viable.S
Mr Beer said it was important to stress the likelihood of an employment boost
in the isles if and when the airline became operational. There could be a
seasonal element if charters were being operated, but the actual running of the
airline would be done from here.
Along with five or six big London investors putting in a couple of million
pounds each there would also be investment opportunities locally, both for
individuals and organisations, he said. It would have a major effect on the
local economy. And special rates could be offered for shareholders.
RIn an ideal world I think the community should own a chunk of every major
service and utility which affects our lives - a sufficiently large chunk to
have a say in the determination of policy. RBut thatUs a political stance, not
a business stance. As a businessman I simply want to raise money to run the
airline, and then I want to run the airline well enough to make a good profit
for the investors.S
Mr Beer said he also wanted to serve Shetland and believed the airline would do
so by creating both work and opportunities for business people.
RA number of good quality jobs will come out of this,S he added.
Aircraft which the company could be looking at include the Fairchild Dornier
328, a 32-seater American turbo-prop, which also has a jet version, or the
Brazilian-built Embraer, which can carry 30-40 passengers and upwards.
The Dornier 328, its manufacturers claim, represents a new generation of
regional airliners. The jet and turbo-prop versions both have the same cabin
dimensions, seating arrangements and passenger amenities. Both can also take
off and land on relatively short runways.
The turbo-prop is claimed to be the fastest, quietest and most efficient
aircraft in its class and offering, at 385 miles per hour, almost jet-like
speed. Even with a maximum load it can land on runways of less than 1000
However, the 328 jet can travel farther - roughly 1000 nautical miles - and has
a maximum take-off weight of 2650 pounds greater than its counterpart.
For many years there has been a formidable body of opinion that turbo-props
were superior to jets in short-haul markets and that jets were better-suited
for long-haul, with the crossover anywhere between 200 and 500 miles.
Distances from Sumburgh to airports on the UK mainland include: Aberdeen (211
miles); Edinburgh (298); and London (598). Foreign destinations include: Bergen
(225); Torshavn (228); Oslo (406); Copenhagen (578); Stockholm (665); Brussels
(680); Reykjavik (702); and Paris (787).
RSumburgh, I believe, could be a hive of activity given imaginative use,S Mr
Beer said. RIf you centre the service in Shetland you are no longer the
peripheral, you become the centre. The question of peripherality no longer
comes into it.S
The airline would also be looking at the needs of other island groups, both in
Europe and the UK, which were very similar to and experienced similar problems
to Shetland, Mr Beer said.
Mr Ratter said Shetland would need to try and broaden its economic base. There
should be diversification. He believed it was important to be involved in
interests other than just the primary sector.
There also used to be a myth that the majority of people travelled south for
business reasons. The recent survey had proved that more folk travelled for
domestic purposes.
RAll the work that has been done through the council has indicated very
strongly that people want more choice. I would like to praise the survey. That
certainly helped to convince me that looking at this area was a good idea.S
Mr Beer reiterated the point that people should not expect too much too early.
RWe are all three of us innovative thinkers, and all three of us are open to
ideas from any source. All we ask is that the community bears in mind the
RIt will take 12-18 months to get a plane off the ground, and several months
more to get our core business in sufficient order to give us a chance of making
a profit. It is only at that point that we can look at extending our operations
in new and unusual ways.S

Go with the flow ... or you'll miss your slot.

U R NumberOne
25th Jun 2001, 22:59
Please note this article was published two days before April 1st!

I'll believe it when I see it...

26th Jun 2001, 16:26
This actually stands a better chance than most. When I spent time oop there, there was a constant moan about the exhorbitant fares and indifferent service from Big Airways. Typical island syndrome, but they were also accumulating a ginormous trust fund of oil revenues which (then) couldn't be spent fast enough on infrastructure/education/younameit. Surreptitious subsidy of ex-Island fares occurred then. So this looks like a suitably grandiose outlet for some of the dosh which is unlikely to fetch opposition; for a few years at least. :rolleyes:
After all, if the Scillies can have their SkyBus, Shetland should have its SkyTrain. :)

[This message has been edited by Yogi-Bear (edited 26 June 2001).]

27th Jun 2001, 01:28
Good luck to them !!
If they think that they can provide a better sevice, I would like to see it!

As a regular visitor to Sumburgh(Not as a passenger I may add)and regularly risking my butt in probably the worst wx in Britain to get people to where they want to go, I wont be sad to see the end of the route!

In my humble opinion i tghink that they are getting a pretty good service at the moment,Not many operators would fly 211 miles to "Go for a look and see what its like" when the actuals are giving 300 meters in fog. Only to get there ,Go into the hold for 30 mins and then fly back to Aberdeen!
And to make matters worse, When we dont get in we are Front page news in the Shetland times, About how bad a service it is!(Nothing in the news when we scrape in at decision height and another 66 pax get to where they want !!!!!!!!

If it does go ahead then best of luck to them but i dont see how it can work with only 600 residents in the Shetland islands!

Once again Best of luck to them ,But i wont be applying for a job!!!!!!!!!!

27th Jun 2001, 16:25
28,000 souls IIRC and most of them are Vikings!

Haulin' Trash
27th Jun 2001, 16:29
Hey 411A - A Tristar job for you. Gonna apply?

Knight Rider
27th Jun 2001, 19:15
New Airline are welcome to it.

Probably suits them better as the Shetlanders (and for that matter, the Orcadians) are just jumped up Norwegians dressed in Scots clothing.

Geographically their Islands are actually part of Norway anyway, the only reason they are part of the British Isles is Oil.

Imagine - no more nightstops in the 1 star Sumburgh hotel, that's right the one that has a heating system which wouldn't warm a hamsters cage.

27th Jun 2001, 19:43
As a jumped up Norwegian (you've clearly never met a norwegian) resident in the isles I can confirm the story, whether it takes off or not is another matter. If they've any sense they'll use Scatsta instead of Sumburgh to keep the costs down. As for the critisism of BRA - they certainly deserve some of it - 280 return fare for a 50 minute flight, I've spent quite a few hours in Aberdeen waiting for BRA to get the plane off the ground, and not all of it tech problems either, e.g. deciding whether to offload fuel or passengers as they've realised they've exceeded their weight capacity, waiting 30 mins for 5 inbound aircraft so they could use the longer runway - weight restrictions again, I could go on.
I'm sure someone could\will eventually offer some competition to BRA.

27th Jun 2001, 19:45
Mr Peter Villa does not spend his time lightly or cheaply and if he is involved I suspect the plan must have some semblence of credibility. Love to see them make it ....

28th Jun 2001, 02:51
UK Paxman, which longer runway at ABZ would this be, then? Last time I looked there was only the one - 16/34.

As for using Scatsta instead of Sumburgh, what happens when the weather is cack and they can't get in? They'll divert to Sumburgh with all the expense that entails, because Sumburgh is equipped with ILS and instrument approaches to all runways as well as a radar control approach service.

28th Jun 2001, 03:05

I think UKpaxman is refering to the Sumburgh runways.

Although I beleive no non-oil related flights (except ambulance service) will ever be allowed to let down in Scatsta, I did notice that whilst a lot ot the BA ABZ-LSI flights got cancelled this week, the BWA's were getting into Scatsta, so SCS does sometimes prove better, SOMETIMES! Bye the way, Only the shorter 27 has ILS, 09 has LLZ, and the longer 15/33 is pretty much visual. Now, where did I park my cessna?

[email protected]

The ground won't hurt you, if you hit it hard enough!

U R NumberOne
28th Jun 2001, 11:43

'Fraid I have to disagree there and say Odi is correct - UKpaxman was referring to Aberdeen when he talked about waiting for 30 minutes for a different runway (the opposite end in our case!) - lets face it does a 30 minute delay at LSI due traffic sound realistic?? :)

For UKpaxman and anyone else who has been frustrated waiting at ABZ for the opposite runway to that in use - the reason some aircraft need it when operating close to their weight limits from ABZ is due to the lower obstructions on climb out from RWY 34 compared to 16. Needless to say this causes us major problems as these flights also tend to be between the busier hours of 0900-1900. The increase in workload can sometimes be significant and making a suitable gap in the traffic very difficult. On top of that, to quote from our manual, "If the runway in use is not considered suitable for a particular operation the pilot may request permission to use another. Permission may be deferred until the traffic situation permits the use of anoter runway and the expected delay shall be passed to the pilot."

28th Jun 2001, 12:16
On the subject of island flights, it might be appropriate to mention a little known service between the Western and Northern Isles and Inverness. Highland Airways have operated a couple of Cessna F406 aircraft on the newspaper run to Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh, for a couple of years now. They fly to the northern isles seven days a week and Stornoway for six. The aircraft are small Turboprop aircraft, also known as Twin Caravan. It is not normally possible to carry pax out to the islands due to freight weight, although its always worth making the enquiry. However they do offer a limited passenger service on the empty leg back to Inverness. It doesn't suit everybody, sometimes sharing the aircraft with boxes of live prawns for example! But it is cheaper than the BA franchises and gets back to Inverness early. There are regular passengers who no longer use the scheduled services and feel they get a better deal all round on the paper plane.
It is a topical subject at the moment as Highland Airways have just launched a new service, they are now operating a Jetstream 31 on the Western Isles (Stornoway)run. This has increased the capacity to three or four pax on the loaded leg (Inv-SYY) and a whopping eighteen on the way back. The inaugeral flight was on Tuesday with the press and local dignitries and the service is now underway. The price is now 55.00 single and 110 return. Some may have low opinions of small airlines, however in the last twenty-four hours Highland have just passed a strict audit (and inspection flight on the J31) by Airtours for crew positioning. The inspector left with a good impression of the company and made positive comments about the airmanship displayed by the crews.
Again, it won't be for everybody, but surely any competition to the current prices is welcome and it will be interesting to see how they fair.

28th Jun 2001, 17:22
Isn't Brian Souter's (Stagecoach boss) investment into Suckling / Scotairways with a view to having a hub in Scotland and flying around the islands with Dornier 328s as well? The worlds entire population of these aircraft is going to be UK registered at this rate!

Just keep it Ginger!

28th Jun 2001, 17:29
There's nothing like watching the pilot scraping the sheep sh*t off the leading edges while the plane is getting loaded.

Bloody good fun though.