HE spends his days flying some of Scotland’s bumpiest routes and ferrying passengers to some of the country’s furthest-flung outposts.  

And as well as the usual commuters, Loganair pilot Aakash Sajid has counted the odd marine animal in his plane’s cabin, including live crabs and a baby seal.  

It’s all in a day’s work servicing air routes between Glasgow and the Highlands and Hebrides, though the runways on the likes of Shetland, Orkney, Stornoway and Benbecula are shorter than he would like.  

Mr Sajid has been a pilot with Loganair for more than five years, flying between Scotland’s largest city and some of its most remote island communities,  

He will soon take control of the next generation of aircraft to take on these routes, with Loganair replacing its fleet of Swedish twin-engine turboprop Saab 340Bs with 48-seat ATR42s later this year.  

It should make journeys a little smoother, but still challenging for the pilot who started out as cabin crew with Easyjet before literally working his way up the plane to the cockpit and the only seat with front-facing windows.  

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He said: “It is a complicated job and it certainly keeps you on your toes. With operational challenges such as shorter runways and weather disruption to contend with, you need to be alert while flying. 

“However, flying these routes gives me such a great viewpoint of Scotland’s landscape.” 

During his half-decade career the father-of-one found that love truly is in the air, after meeting his partner when she worked for Loganair at Islay Airport. 

Mr Sajid self-funded his pilot licence and training while working part-time with EasyJet. He later completed the final stage of his training abroad in Poland before joining Jet2 as a flight dispatcher. 

READ MORE: Airline Loganair to launch new route from Aberdeen Airport

Pursuing a career as a pilot requires a big investment, he explained. 

“Some people invest in property but my family invested in my career,” he said. “It was a big risk financially and required a lot of sacrifice, but one that paid off. 

“It’s a competitive industry and took me two and a half years to complete my training but I was grateful to relocate to Glasgow and start my flying career as a Captain with Loganair. It’s been a dream of mine to fly planes from a young age.” 

Loganair announced last year it would retire all eight of its Saab 340Bs as part of a £9.6 million sale agreement, replacing them with ATR next-generation turboprop. 

The replacement 48-seat ATR42s have the same crosswind landing capability but will offer a reduction in carbon emissions per seat by between 10 per cent and 27 per cent, versus the Saab 340 aircraft on Highlands and Islands routes.  

They will also provide more seats, and increased capacity for cargo and mail. 

Mr Sajid is among the pilots currently retraining on the new aircraft which includes simulator training in Amsterdam. 

Alongside his civilian career, the pilot is also an Armed Forces Reservist.  

Loganair fully supports this dual role, and airline was recognised by the Ministry of Defence and presented with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award last year.  

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The award is recognition of the initiatives in place at Loganair to support individuals transitioning out of the armed forces into a new career or providing flexibility for reservists.  

READ MORE: Glasgow's Loganair hails Dundee to London move

This includes its work with charity Wings for Warriors which trains wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women as professional pilots. 

“I’m really grateful for the flexibility to allow me to pursue both roles as Captain with Loganair and Army Reservist Private,” added the pilot. 

“The people and culture are what make Loganair so special and it’s a fantastic and rewarding career - definitely worth the investment for any aspiring pilots or young aviation fans.”