Royal Mail has awarded Loganair (LM, Glasgow Int'l) a five-year contract to haul mail to the northern islands of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.

Under the contract, effective February 1, Loganair will offer regular mail flights to Sumburgh, Shetland and Kirkwall, Orkney. It also involves new responsibilities for linking Aberdeen Dyce, Edinburgh, and Inverness.

The Scottish carrier already operates another contract for Royal Mail connecting Inverness with Stornoway and Benbecula.

To cope with the surge in demand, Loganair says it will expand its fleet of Saab 340(F) aircraft from the current two to four. All of the aircraft involved in the service will feature a Royal Mail insignia.

"We are pleased to be awarding this new contract to Loganair, one of our longstanding suppliers serving the Scottish islands," Royal Mail logistics director Euan McMurdo said in a press release. "The introduction of larger aircraft on our services to and from Orkney and Shetland will double the freight capacity on these flights, which we're sure will be warmly welcomed by island residents and local businesses alike."