DALLAS – Fans of UK airline Flybe (BE) are rejoicing today. The rejuvenated airline took to the skies this morning as its first flight soared from Belfast City (BHD) to Birmingham (BHX).
According to news.sky.com, flight BE404, using a Bombardier DHC-8-400, registration number G-JECX, was a full flight in a Y78 configuration. Flights from Belfast to Glasgow (GLA) will launch tomorrow, Thursday 14th, with more routes to come.
Some pundits are dubbing the airline Flybe 2.0, as this airline is hardly the same one that collapsed and filed for bankruptcy in March 2020. That disaster, which killed Europe’s largest regional airline, left more than 2,000 employees without a job. This 2.0 airline is ultimately owned by the US hedge fund Cyrus Capital and looks very different from its previous namesake.
A Different Airline
For one, it is based in Birmingham, where Exeter was its previous home. Its route structure is different, with Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA), Newquay (NQY), Malaga (AGP), Faro (FAO), and Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) no longer being served. Finally, the new Flybe seems to have accelerated the conversion to newer, more efficient aircraft that was just beginning when 1.0 failed in 2020.
The new Flybe will operate eight De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprops, which are quieter and less carbon-emitting than similar regional jets. According to www.news.sky.com, the airline hopes to operate as many as 32 of the type.
Should Flybe 2.0 succeed, it will make history. No previous insolvent UK airline that was revitalized has succeeded. That success will be the responsibility of Dave Pflieger, who heads up the new management team. Pflieger has over 30 years of experience in the airline and aviation industry, having served as a CEO and senior executive at multiple public and private airlines.
He was also selected by Goldman Sachs to brief institutional investors on the U.S. airline industry, and hired by The World Bank to assist with the restructuring and privatization of a national airline in Africa. You can read his full LinkedIn profile at this link.
Flybe CCO, Philip Saunders, told Sky News, “It’s important to stress this is a new company with new ownership and new management. We’re very, very focused on making sure that we’re creating a sustainable Flybe that can be a mainstay of the British aviation industry today and into the future. “
In an interview on Sky News today, Saunders noted that about 600 new jobs are being created by the airline. Also, some of the flight and cabin crew are from the old Flybe. Management chose the Birmingham base due to the Mayor of the West Midlands’ “enormous support” from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and many other institutions, including the airport.
The new routes were hand-picked by the management, and the airline expects that with the pent-up demand for air travel, these routes should be healthy and profitable.
The list of Flybe routes now on sale:
- Belfast to Birmingham from 13th April
- Belfast to Glasgow from 14th April
- Birmingham to Amsterdam from 28th April
- East Midlands to Amsterdam from 28th April
- Belfast City to Leeds Bradford from 28th April
- Belfast City to London Heathrow from 28th April
- Leeds Bradford to London Heathrow from 28th April
- Belfast to Amsterdam from 28th May
- London Heathrow to Amsterdam from 28th May
- Belfast to Edinburgh from 23rd June
- Belfast to East Midlands from 7th July
- Belfast to Manchester from 7th July
- Birmingham to Avignon from 9th July
- Birmingham to Brest from 9th July
- Southampton to Avignon from 23rd July
- Southampton to Toulon from 24th July
- Belfast to Southampton from 28th July
- Birmingham to Edinburgh from 28th July
- Birmingham to Glasgow from, 28th July
- Aberdeen to Birmingham from 18th August
- Aberdeen to Belfast from 25th August
- Belfast to Inverness from 25th August
- Belfast to Newcastle from 25th August
Featured image: Flybe G-PRPM Bombardier Dash 8-Q402. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways