Loch Lomond Seaplanes (LLS) was established in 2003 by Captain David West* and over the next four years confronted all the legal, regulatory and operational challenges presented by introducing the UK’s first seaplane airline in over fifty years - now Europe's longest established scheduled seaplane service !
LLS began operations in April 2004 with a new amphibious Cessna T206H, registration G-OLLS, and is licensed as an airline under the UK Civil Aviation Authority with Air Operator's Certificate 2252.
Commercial operations initially included scenic tours of the magnificent Scottish West coast, charter flights, hotel/resort support and the very popular fly to lunch/dinner flights.
In 2004, at the inception of commercial operations, LLS won, after a long and hard fought public battle, the right to operate from the newly formed Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. In the process LLS established the seaplane as an environmentally friendly vehicle for operation in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - work that is now used by seaplane operators worldwide.
During the initial stages of the operation it became obvious that an aviation legal framework, which would allow the operation of large seaplanes on scheduled services, was not in place throughout the UK and Europe. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was approached in 2004 and after a great deal of work, much of it done by LLS, the criteria for licensed water aerodromes was published in 2006.
The framework, the world’s first modern seaplane legislation, was now in place for the further development of the seaplane industry across the globe. LLS has now assisted several overseas governments with the establishment of new seaplane regulations.
LLS took delivery of the UK's first Amphibious Cessna 208 Caravan, registration G-MDJE, in June 2007 - a one million pound investment.
In August 2007, using the new CAA, LLS inspired, aerodrome legislation and having brought the maritime and city authorities on board, Mr Stewart Stevenson, MP, The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, opened the new £125,000 Loch Lomond Seaplanes’ Glasgow City Centre Seaplane airport on the River Clyde and launched our first scheduled service to Oban Bay.
Glasgow's City centre seaplane airport has an incredible approach to landing - the only one of its kind in the world. The opening was covered worldwide by international TV, radio and print media. View HERE.
In October 2007 LLS won Scotland’s top tourism award at a glittering ceremony in Edinburgh - The prestigious Thistle Innovation Award was presented by Mr Jim Mather - The Minister of Tourism and Enterprise.
In April 2008, once again to wide international media coverage, LLS launched its second scheduled service route from Glasgow to Tobermory Bay on the island of Mull.
In May 2008, in a UK wide Visit Scotland poll, LLS was voted by the Scots as the country’s top “Must Do” activity.
In August 2008 LLS was nationally recognised by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the UK Government as a leading exemplar of innovation. VIEW on Page 55 of the CBI Excellence in Service Innovation Document.
All of us at Loch Lomond Seaplanes were delighted to be involved in the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games when one of our seaplanes flew the last leg of the Baton relay around the World and delivered it to the Queen.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes is proud to have been associated over the last four years with the Scotland Tourism Campaign featuring prominently in the TV and Cinema adverts. View HERE.
Loch Lomond Seaplanes flies over 200 flights per month in the summer season and carries over 8,000 passengers every year - some 70,000 passengers since 2004.
* David has now been flying for over thirty eight years and has amassed over 20,000 flying hours (over 17,000 in Command) on worldwide operations with major airlines. David holds UK, Hong Kong, USA and Canadian Airline Transport Pilots Licences on such diverse aircraft types as : the Douglas DC9, L1011 Tristar, Airbus 330, Airbus 340 and the Boeing 747. In addition, David spent many years as a Training and Check Captain with a major international airline.