The UK’s largest regional airline is poised to start operations again next month.
A Dash 8 Q400 aircraft will make its first take off in Flybe colours from Birmingham to Belfast City on April 13, 2022 with another 22 routes to follow. Flybe was one of the first airlines to run into difficulties during the Covid pandemic, although its financial difficulties date back long before restrictions and social distancing measures were put into place. The airline collapsed on March 5, 2020 after a rescue consortium led by Virgin Atlantic pulled the plug on funding, having previously ploughed £100m into the carrier.
The airline’s collapse led to the loss of more than 2,000 jobs at the Exeter-based airline. Then-chief executive, Mark Anderson, said funding challenges were “compounded by the outbreak of coronavirus which in the last few days has resulted in a significant impact on demand.”
Airline’s base will be at Birmingham Airport
In October 2020, the Flybe brand was bought from the receiver by Cyrus Capital. The regional carrier will now have its headquarters at its Birmingham airport hub with a second base at Belfast City airport.
The airline will continue to operate using Dash 8 Q400 propeller planes, some of which are believed to have been previously flown by the original airline. Flights will carry 78 passengers in an all-economy configuration.
Flybe’s route network will expand after the first flight on April 13. Flights from Belfast City to Glasgow begins the following day, with routes from Belfast City-Leeds Bradford, Belfast City-London Heathrow, Leeds Bradford-London Heathrow, Amsterdam-Birmingham and Amsterdam-East Midlands launched on April 28.
Flybe will add routes over summer season
Further expansion is planned for the summer season with the launch of daily flights from Amsterdam-Belfast City and, the following day, a twice daily service from Heathrow-Amsterdam on May 28.
The carrier’s biggest route network will be from Belfast City with multiple daily flights launching to Edinburgh (June 23), East Midlands and Manchester (July 7). These will be followed by holiday routes to France with Birmingham to Avignon and Brest launched on July 9, and Southampton- Avignon (July 23) and Toulon Hyères (July 24).
More domestic routes will follow on July 28 with Belfast City-Southampton and connections from Flybe’s Birmingham base to Edinburgh and Glasgow. The final day of expansion will be August 25, when Belfast City gains three more routes: Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.
Flybe’s fares will typically cost £30 one-way on most routes, or £50 from London Heathrow. The carrier’s French routes will be more expensive with Southampton-Avignon on July 30 priced at £157.