Flybe has launched scheduled flights from London/Heathrow. The Exeter-based regional carrier introduced its first of 40 weekly connections from the capital to Aberdeen and Edinburgh on March 26, operated by its fleet of Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.
Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: “We are so pleased to confirm further our commitment to Scotland by offering even more flights to London with our two new routes from Edinburgh and Aberdeen to Heathrow’s Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, giving passengers greater choice and linking them with our range of codeshare partners through our ‘One Stop to the World’ approach.”
Flybe’s arrival at Heathrow comes just two months after the airport reduced its charges for domestic passengers in a bid to improve regional connectivity.
The carrier gained access into the capacity-constrained hub via slots surrendered by British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group (IAG) following its 2012 acquisition of British Midland International. Under the terms of the deal, the European Commission ordered IAG to release 14 daily slot pairs, seven of which were to facilitate new competition between Heathrow and Edinburgh and/or Aberdeen. As a result, Flybe was not required to pay for these slots.
Scottish carrier Loganair will operate flights in its own right for the first time in almost 25 years. The Glasgow-based airline will adopt a new tartan-themed livery from September 1 to coincide with the conclusion of its ten-year franchise agreement with Flybe. This follows a similar arrangement with British Airways, operated from 1993 to 2007.
“[This] announcement is a major milestone in the 54-year history of Loganair,” Peter Simpson, CEO of Loganair’s parent Airline Investments Ltd (AIL) commented. “Although Loganair has flown as a franchise carrier for larger airlines over the last 24 years, there is still a huge level of recognition and affinity for the Loganair name throughout Scotland and beyond. We believe the time is right for Scotland’s Airline to now spread its wings once again, and are delighted to be introducing a bold new corporate identity to accompany this important move.”
Loganair confirmed it is discussing potential opportunities to co-operate with Flybe beyond the end of the franchise agreement, while its codeshare agreement with British Airways will also continue.
Flybe has announced plans to open its first European crew base on February 1 after securing an agreement with Düsseldorf Airport. The Exeter-based regional carrier said the creation a Continental hub “underlines [its] commitment to serving Germany and will ensure an even more efficient and reliable service.”
In preparation for the opening of the new base, the airline has recently embarked on a recruitment drive for more than 60 pilots and cabin crew, and secured engineering support for two based 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.
Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer, commented: “The decision to open a new crew base in Düsseldorf marks an important milestone for the airline. Regional communities are increasingly under-served by mainstream airlines and alternative modes of transport in mainland Europe as they are in the UK. Local basing of aircraft and crew will help us serve the local community in and around Düsseldorf much more cost-effectively.”
British regional carrier Flybe has confirmed it will extend its Cardiff to London City Airport service indefinitely.
The multi-frequency schedule had been introduced as an interim measure, intended to maintain links between the two capitals during the planned closure of the Severn Tunnel, which carries the main trunk railway line from southern England to South Wales.
The flights had been due to end when the tunnel re-opens on October 21 but Flybe said they would now be extended “following an overwhelming response from the business community”.
Flybe’s CEO, Saad Hammad said: “Serving regional communities and providing regional connectivity is what we’re all about. This is a great example of how a regional airport working with Flybe can move quickly to address local needs in a meaningful way. We have made a significant investment in Wales over the past 18 months and it is pleasing to see the Welsh public responding with such positive demand.”
The carrier’s Chief Revenue Officer, Vincent Hodder added: “This route has quite simply taken off, quickly becoming an early success. We have been heartened by the response it has received. Flybe recognises that time is precious for customers and this route is clear vindication that we are faster than road or rail, and not only faster, but usually also cheaper. We are delighted to continue operating this route to meet demand and look forward to it continuing to go from strength to strength.”
The airline is expected to revise the schedule from November 1 from thrice- to twice-daily on weekdays, and from twice a day to daily on weekends.
British regional carrier Flybe launched its first intra-European routes from Hannover Airport on August 1.
Flybe is flying daily from the German airport to Lyon-Saint-Exupéry in France and Milan/Malpensa in Italy.
The Lyon service departs Hannover at 1045hrs, arriving in France at 1250hrs. The return flight departs at 1325hrs arriving back at Hannover at 1535hrs.
Flights to Milan depart at 1610hrs arriving in Italy at 1810. Services in the opposite direction leave the Italian city at 1850hrs and arrive in Germany at 2055hrs.
Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer commented: “This is a proud milestone for Flybe and we are delighted to be here today. Flybe’s debut into this new marketplace marks the beginning of our ambition to provide mainland Europeans with the same high level of regional connectivity and choice of high frequency time-saving travel as we currently provides throughout the UK.”
Hannover Airport CEO Raoul Hille added: “The decision of Flybe to expand its offerings at Hannover Airport for us is a great signal to the market. Flybe has already been a reliable and successfully growing partner at Hannover Airport.”
Flybe also flies to Hannover from Manchester and Birmingham.