Destinations

Longest-serving pilot on world’s shortest flight retires

May 27, 2013 12:25 am

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Services like this may not make sense in the boardroom, but they’re essential connections for smaller communities around the world.

— Jason Clampet

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A Scottish pilot has completed the world’s shortest scheduled flight for the final time.

Loganair’s Stuart Linklater has flown the famously brief route between Westray and Papa Westray in Orkney more than 12,000 times in 24 years.

The distance between the two locations stands at slightly more than a mile and can be travelled in as little as 47 seconds, depending on the direction of the wind.

The flight between Westray and Papa Westray is currently priced at £21 return, making it perhaps the most expensive flight in the world in terms of cost per mile.

Loganair has been running the route since the start of its Scottish inter-island service in 1967, while Mr Linklater, 59, joined the airline in 1988.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Orkney Inter-Isle Service and have worked with and carried so many interesting people in the last 24 years,” said Mr Linklater. “Flying in some of the most challenging weather conditions in Scotland means I’ve had my fair share of turbulence over the years, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

The Orkney Inter-Isle Service, a Public Service Obligation contract funded by Orkney Islands Council, was retained by Loganair in January.

Click through the gallery above for the world’s 10 shortest commercial flight routes

A lifeline to those on the islands and the Orkney mainland, Loganair will provide these services until 2016 with the option to extend the contract by a further 12 months.

At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s longest non-stop schduled flight, an 18-hour 9,500-mile route between Singapore and Los Angeles on Singapore Airlines, is expected to stop at the end of this year.

The airline is thought to have struggled to make the routes profitable, with rising fuel costs and the current economic climate meaning passengers were unwilling to pay premium prices.

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