UK regional carrier Flybe launched its network of eight routes from Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield Airport last week with the announcement of further growth for 2016 with a new business link to the German city of Dusseldorf commencing from winter 2016/2017.
The airline launched operations from its latest base on March 24, 2016 using an Embraer 195 jet emblazoned with eye-catching ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’ livery. The aircraft will promote the Yorkshire region to potential tourists across Europe and the UK, as part of the new deal that recently saw Doncaster Sheffield Airport and Flybe announced as the official airport and airline partner of the tourism agency respectively.
Flybe is basing two 118-seat E195s at the airport this summer offering flights to Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Jersey, Newquay, Malaga, Alicante and Faro. It will add the Dusseldorf link, its second route into Germany, from the end of October 2016, while Chambery in the Rhone-Alps region of south eastern France will also be served during Flybe's winter programme, starting from December 17 2016.
The UK carrier has served the Doncaster Sheffield market for almost ten years having first introduced flights in October 2006 with a service to Belfast City. A link to Jersey was introduced in summer 2008 was Flybe’s only current offering from the facility, with a summer service.
“We are confident we have created a schedule that delivers attractive travel options that are both appealing and affordable as well as providing opportunities for onward global connections,” said Vincent Hodder, chief revenue officer, Flybe.
The introduction of these new routes will see Flybe deliver the largest number of departures from the Yorkshire airport, offering some 42 extra flights per week meaning 500,000 extra new flight seats are available to Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Jersey, Newquay, Malaga, Alicante and Faro.
The extra seats will see Doncaster Sheffield Airport experience double-digit growth in 2016. The Flybe expansion and growth from other incumbent carriers expected to take passenger figures from 900,000 in 2015 to an estimated 1.35 million in 2016.
Schedule data from OAG shows Flybe last year offered regular flights from 37 airports across the UK both under its own flying and franchise partners Loganair and Stobart Air. Bournemouth was a new market for the carrier last year (it last served the South Coast airport in 2010), while operations have also significantly grown at both London City and London Stansted, where it started flying again from the end of 2014, bringing capacity growth from the UK in 2015 for the first time in three years.
A closer look at the carrier’s schedule over the past ten years shows how it is modified its UK network over the period to meet changing passenger demand and developments to the carrier’s business strategy. In 2005 Belfast City and Southampton were the largest points in its UK network by departure capacity, but both have now been overtaken by Birmingham and Manchester. Doncaster Sheffield has risen to the 15th largest UK point in its network, based on published schedules for 2016.