With the winter season starting on October 30th, barely two months away, the new Flybe has revealed some of its plans, with more to come, probably including the Isle of Man. Despite aircraft shortages that meant existing routes, such as Belfast City to Manchester and Birmingham to Aberdeen, had to be postponed and aircraft wet-leased in to somewhat make up the shortfall, it has added five new services and brought back routes temporarily removed. Clearly, it is optimistic that it has the situation under control.
However, Leeds Bradford to London Heathrow has been pulled. It was an oddball airport pair that had just 1,723 passengers in June, according to UK CAA data, with an approximate seat load factor of 15%. It required an aircraft to overnight in Leeds, adding to costs and operational complexity.
Five new routes
Flybe is to introduce the following, with details provided below. While they’re new to Flybe 2.0, all were served by its predecessor, and all but one now have flights by another operator.
Unlike the days of the old Flybe, the regional operator faces heavy competition on many of its routes, particularly dramatic now from Southampton to Scotland. How will it compete against entrenched carriers? Simply lower fares? It’s likely to increase the frequency to Scotland as it receives more aircraft.
- Newquay to London Heathrow: begins October 30th12x weekly, with 2x daily Monday-Friday, 1x daily on Saturday-Sunday; no head-to-head competition
- Newquay to Manchester: starts October 30th1x daily; competes with Loganair (6x weekly)
- Southampton to Manchester: begins March 2nd12x weekly, with 2x daily Monday-Friday, 1x daily on Saturday-Sunday; competes with Eastern Airways (11x weekly, up to 2x daily)
- Southampton to Edinburgh: starts March 2nd1x daily; competes with Loganair (23x weekly, up to 4x daily)
- Southampton to Glasgow: begins March 2nd1x daily; competes with Loganair (23x weekly, up to 4x daily)
All of these will begin this winter. Image: GCMap.
Stay aware: Sign up for my weekly new routes newsletter.
Newquay to London
Perhaps the most exciting development is Newquay, a new destination in its network. In 2019, Newquay-London had around 200,000 roundtrip passengers, according to the UK CAA, a decent-sized market. with August having three times the passengers of February. The market has had a tumultuous short-term past, with much chop-and-change among carriers.
Flybe’s entry will mean Heathrow will again have Cornwall service after short-term, inconsistent service since 2019. It seems that it won’t have government funding, meaning it’ll rely purely on commercial income. It’ll compete indirectly with Eastern Airways’ government-funded Gatwick service that began last December.
This winter, Cornwall will have up to 4x daily London flights (3x daily on the weekend) across both operators. The schedule for the first week of November is as follows. It’ll be easy for Cornwall-based passengers to have London day trips , with Eastern’s timings probably better for it.
- Flybe, Newquay to Heathrow: 06:35-08:00; Heathrow-Newquay: 08:45-10:15
- Eastern, Newquay to Gatwick: 07:00-08:15; Gatwick-Newquay: 08:55-10:10
- Eastern, Newquay to Gatwick: 17:00-18:15; Gatwick to Newquay: 18:55-20:10
- Flybe, Newquay to Heathrow: 18:35-20:00; Heathrow-Newquay: 20:45-22:10
Flybe currently has five active Q400s with another (G-EXTB) to enter service soon. It’s still wet-leasing two others. Photo: James Pearson – Simple Flying.
One Q400 in Newquay, Southampton
Flybe will overnight one Q400 in both Newquay and Southampton, with both aircraft operating eight sectors most of the time. The Cornwall aircraft will route Newquay-Heathrow-Newquay-Manchester-Belfast City-Manchester-Newquay-Heathrow-Newquay. leave at 06:35, with the last flight arriving at 22:10.
Meanwhile, the Southampton aircraft will route Southampton-Manchester-Southampton-Edinburgh-Southampton-Glasgow-Southampton-Manchester-Southampton. The first flight will take off at 06:45, and the last will be back at 21:55.
What do you make of the latest announcement?