Belfast City To Be Second Flybe Base

The airline plans to open a base in Northern Ireland once it relaunches this spring.

Credit: Rob Finlayson
The revived Flybe will only operate Dash 8-400.

Revived UK regional carrier Flybe has confirmed it will open a second base at Belfast City Airport (BHD) alongside its main headquarters in Birmingham (BHX).

The airline intends to fly a network of domestic routes once the brand relaunches, as well as serving “key regions” across Europe. It will announce its initial network on March 22 when the first flights go on sale.

“Our team has been working hard for over a year and a half to bring customers a new airline that people will love, and we are particularly excited to be flying to Belfast City Airport and serving Northern Ireland,” Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger said.

He added that the airline “hopes to do its part to help communities across the country bounce back from the dramatic impact of the global pandemic.”

The previous incarnation of Flybe was headquartered in Exeter and collapsed into administration in March 2020. At the time, the company blamed its demise on rising fuel costs, currency volatility and market uncertainty.

Flybe’s brand and assets were later sold to Thyme Opco, a business linked to hedge fund Cyrus Capital. New York-based Cyrus Capital was previously part of a consortium that owned the airline alongside Virgin Atlantic and the now-defunct Stobart Air.

Flybe’s fleet immediately prior to its insolvency comprised a mix of aircraft, including 54 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400s, nine Embraer ERJ175s and two ERJ195s. However, the new Flybe will only operate Dash 8-400s. It hopes to operate up to 32 aircraft.

The airline’s planned base at Belfast City comes as Irish startup Emerald Airlines prepares to launch flights from the airport. The carrier, which will operate Aer Lingus Regional flights in Ireland and the UK, will fly to six UK cities from BHD using ATR 72-600 turboprops.

From March 24, Emerald will fly up to 3X-daily flights between BHD and Birmingham.

From March 27, it will launch flights from BHD to Edinburgh (EDI), Leeds (LBA) and Manchester (MAN). The routes to EDI and LBA will be operated up to 2X-daily while the BHD-MAN route will be flown up to 3X-daily.

From May 8, Emerald will begin flights from BHD to Exeter (EXT) and Glasgow (GLA). The BHD-EXT route will be operated up to 5X-weekly while the BHD-GLA route will be flown daily.