MIAMI – easyJet (U2) has begun to capitalize on more regional routes in the UK with the addition of a Manchester-Aberdeen operation starting at the end of August 2020.
It is understood that this move has been made due to the demise of Flybe and there being room in the market to do so.
easyJet’s A320 Competing with Loganair’s Embraers
Services will commence on a seven-weekly basis using its 186-seater Airbus A320 aircraft. This will be the 4th newest domestic route announced by the carrier.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, services will depart from Manchester at 0720L, arriving into Aberdeen at 0840L. The return will aim to depart at 0910L, arriving back into Manchester at 1025L.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the service will depart at 1505L, arriving at 1625L. The return will then depart 30 minutes later and arrive at 1810L.
On Sundays, an evening composition will take place, departing at 1840L, arriving into the Scottish highland at 2000Z, before the return again departing 30 minutes later and arriving into Manchester at 2145L.
With Flybe not around anymore, this means that the only competitor on the route will be the regional carrier Loganair (LM) who operates the route 23 times per week.
Flybe’s Demise Provides Ample Opportunity
Due to Flybe’s demise, approximately 147,000 seats were cut, which represents a 55% cut according to anna.aero.
This route also proves to be an important one, especially with its peak seats averaging at around 306,000 for Flybe in 2017. Out of the carriers in 2014, consisting of BMI and Flybe, the highest peak was recorded at 350,000 seats on offer.
As for current competition, Loganair currently use the 50-seater Embraer E145, which offers precisely 1,150 seats per week.
However, when easyJet launch the service, it will be able to accommodate 1,302 seats, a difference of 152 more seats per week compared to its competitor.
This would strongly suggest that a price war would begin between the two sides, even with U2 servicing the city seven times a week.
Away from Manchester, services at London Luton and Geneva operate to the eastern-based city.
Services from London-Gatwick had been prevalent and popular for the airline, offering an average of 200,000 seats between 2010-2018. After such cancelations, 163,000 seats to Aberdeen were wiped from U2’s taking.
Even in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the numbers show that there must be an opportunity and market share still prevalent and enough flexibility for airlines to still launch new services.
Even then, if the pandemic gets worse in the UK, then the route could always be delayed. As everything is so frantic at the moment, it is hard to establish what it will ultimately do until the airline gets to that point.