Flybe Adds International Routes from Inverness and Southampton

The two new routes stretch from the north of Scotland with a new daily Inverness – Dublin service, to the south of England with a daily Southampton – Hamburg link, both of which will launch from October 26, 2014 at the start of the winter schedules.

UK low-fare regional carrier Flybe has revealed plans to introduce two important new international routes from the UK’s regions as it continues to develop its local airline philosophy across the country.  The two new routes stretch from the north of Scotland with a new daily Inverness – Dublin service, to the south of England with a daily Southampton – Hamburg route, both of which will launch from October 26, 2014 at the start of the winter schedules.

Adding to its announcement last month on the introduction of a twice daily service between its new London City Airport base and Inverness in winter 2014/2015, the carrier has confirmed it will launch the daily operation from the Highland city and Irish capital using a 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400. This represents the return of a link previously flown by Aer Arann (now Stobart Air) between April 2006 and August 2009. According to UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) data 35,900 passengers flew on the route in that period.

Alongside the new Dublin and London City routes, Flybe has also confirmed extra flights will operate from Inverness on its existing Birmingham and Belfast City routes (increasing to six times a week), and to Manchester (to three flights a day).

“We are committed to providing the best possible connectivity to and from the Highlands and Islands. Today’s announcement means that the Highlands and Islands will have regular, direct access to three European capitals of Amsterdam, Dublin and London, as well as high frequency to Manchester, a growing regional and intercontinental hub in its own right,” said Fred Kochak, UK routes’ director, Flybe.

Flybe’s 2014/15 winter schedule from Inverness will feature a total of seven routes with a choice of up to 116 flights a week, strengthening further the airline’s customer proposition to be ‘The fastest way from A to Flybe’, ‘faster than rail and road’. “Flybe is an airline based in the regions and it understands how important these kinds of services are to underpin a flourishing business and leisure environment,” said Kochak.

The regional carrier has further confirmed its commitment to growth this winter by expanding at its Southampton Airport base on the south coast of England. A brand new daily service between Southampton and Hamburg connecting these two destinations for the first time will commence from October 26, 2014 and will be operated by a 118-seat Embraer E195.

Hamburg is a city that has strong business links to Southampton and there are growing cruise links between these two major European ports, alongside the many aerospace and marine industry links in both regions.  According to data from UK Trade & Investment South East, Germany is the South East region’s second biggest export market after the USA with the South East’s exports to Germany in the year ending March 2014 totalling £4.17 billion.  “We are delighted that Flybe has chosen to start this important air link to Germany, which has been requested by many businesses in this region,” said Dave Lees, managing director, Southampton Airport.

In addition, Flybe has also confirmed its popular sun routes from Southampton to Alicante, Malaga and Faro have been extended to operate through to early November to accommodate half-term travel. The services to the two Spanish destinations will actually continue on as part of Flybe’s 2014/2015 winter schedule out of the south coast airport.

Increased flights to Dublin will also operate during winter up to four times a day, and routes to regional France will also receive a winter boost with the addition of a twice weekly service to La Rochelle complementing Flybe’s existing winter routes to Bergerac, Nantes, Rennes and Limoges and the return of flights to Grenoble, Geneva and Chambery.

“As an airline dedicated to serving the country’s regions, Flybe has responded to our passengers’ calls in the Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey areas to provide alternatives from their convenient, local airport at Eastleigh instead of the congested airports closer to London,” said Flybe’s Fred Kochak.

“Our new daily service to Hamburg is ideally timed in the evening, so businesspeople can take advantage of a full day’s work in northern Germany. This new route, as well as our winter extensions to popular leisure destinations in Spain and France, reaffirms Flybe’s commitment to providing a whole range of destinations in the UK, Channel Islands and continental Europe,” he added.

Flybe’s 2014/2015 winter schedule from Southampton Airport will feature a total of 23 routes with a choice of up to 558 flights a week. The carrier’s network currently encompasses 171 routes serving 16 countries from 84 departure points (34 in the UK and 53 European airports) including the activities of franchise partners Loganair and Stobart Air which fly under the Flybe brand.

In our analysis, below, we look at Flybe’s network through the years by UK departure point.  The data from OAG Schedules Analyser shows departure seats within and from the UK have more than doubled over the past ten years from 4.9 million in 2004 to 10.7 million in 2013, an average annual growth rate of 13.2 per cent. 

Southampton Airport has been an important part of the Flybe network over this period but its share of capacity has declined from 14.8 per cent in 2004 to 11.9 in 2013 as the carrier has grown at other points, most notably Manchester Airport which in 2013 accounted for 10.6 per cent of the UK departure capacity.  Inverness Airport does not make the top ten UK points and is currently the 15th largest UK departure point for Flybe with a 2.5 per cent share of its UK departure capacity.

Data provided by OAG