Flybe Boosts Birmingham Network with New Winter Links

Flybe has confirmed it will launch new daily links from Birmingham to Hamburg and Oslo from October 26, 2014 through to March 27, 2015, while its new summer 2014 flights to Bordeaux, Cologne, Florence, Oporto, Reykjavik and Toulouse will be extended through the winter season.

UK regional carrier, Flybe, is to expand its international network from Birmingham Airport in winter 2014/2015 with the introduction of two new routes and the extension of six of its new summer flights through the winter schedule. Already Birmingham Airport’s largest carrier, this growth will further strengthen its activities in the Midlands.

Flybe has confirmed it will launch new daily services from Birmingham to Hamburg and Oslo from October 26, 2014 through to March 27, 2015, while “early successes” on its expanded 2014 summer network will see its flights to Bordeaux, Cologne, Florence, Oporto and Toulouse extended into the winter season. Due to the popularity of its recently announced summer twilight flights to Reykjavik, it’s also moving this three times a week service to daytime flying, also with effect from October 26, 2014.

The move is estimated to result in Flybe carrying an additional 100,000 passengers a year at Birmingham Airport and the expansion was revealed as it inaugurated four more summer links from the facility, namely its flights to Newquay, Bordeaux, Palma and Toulouse. The airline will deploy 88-seat Embraer E175 jets to Hamburg, Oslo, Reykjavik, Florence and Oporto, while Cologne, Bordeaux and Toulouse will be served by 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 turboprops.

“We said we would be investing in a major way at Birmingham and it is now our largest ever base. Today’s announcement gives additional weight to that commitment and I’m delighted that, as a result of the Flybe route assessment model, we have been able to add even more destinations as well as choice for our Midlands’ business and leisure passengers,” said Fred Kochak, routes director, Flybe UK.

The Birmingham - Hamburg link will see Flybe compete with Germanwings, which inherited the route from Lufthansa in October 2013 when the German flag carrier restructured its flight network between its mainline regional and low-cost operations. It will mark the carrier’s return to a market it previously served between March 2007 and September 2012. According to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data, 32,306 passengers flew on this route in 2013.

The Birmingham – Oslo route will represent the reintroduction of direct links to the Norwegian capital following a five year hiatus. The city pair was last served by Ryanair between June 2008 and October 2009, albeit serving Sandefjord Airport, in Torp, over 115 km south of Oslo. You have to go back over ten years to early 2004 when Birmingham was last linked to Oslo’s main airport, Gardermoen, by independent regional carrier Duo Airways.

“Oslo is another new destination for us and we’re very pleased that Flybe is recognising the need to serve these markets and satisfy demand to give business and leisure travellers the destinations that they want from Birmingham Airport,” said William Pearson, aviation development director, Birmingham Airport.

Flybe already connects more than 1.5 million passengers a year from Birmingham both domestically and throughout Europe. Its expanded network will see it operate up to 350 flights a week from Birmingham on 26 routes as part of its 2014/15 winter schedule. The carrier’s network currently encompasses 179 routes serving 16 countries from 91 departure points (36 in the UK and 55 European airports) including the activities of franchise partners Loganair and Stobart Air which fly under the Flybe brand.

In the table, below, we look in more detail at the carrier’s capacity from Birmingham Airport over the past ten years based upon its current and historical flight schedules. According to data from OAG Schedules Analyser, during the period between 2004 and 2014 the carrier’s capacity offering has increased by 58.8 per cent to just over 1.3 million departing seats in 2014. This has seen Flybe boost its share of departure capacity from Birmingham Airport from 16.2 per cent in 2004 to 22.6 per cent this year.