Flybe Departs From Doncaster Sheffield Airport

As its service shake-up continues, Uk regional operator Flybe has decided to pull out of operations in Doncaster Sheffield Airport as well as limiting other services connecting the UK with Europe.

Flybe Departs From Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Flybe will no longer fly from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Flickr

Flybe diverting from its original plan

Earlier this year, as Flybe was bought by consortium Connect Airways, the airline announced that it would be cutting 23 routes and pulling out of some of its bases.

We reported at the time that whilst Flybe’s Embraers would be removed from Doncaster and Cardiff on 27th October 2019, the airline would continue to operate in these airports with Bombardier Dash 8 Q400s.

For Doncaster, that meant keeping routes to Amsterdam and Belfast City. However, it has now been revealed that all services from Doncaster will be cut.

Flybe kindly emailed a statement to us, explaining why it had decided to cut all routes from Doncaster Sheffield Airport. In the statement, the carrier said:

“It was announced back in April that the airline’s base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport will close when the two jets based there are withdrawn and returned to the lessors at the end of October… However, since going on sale, neither [the Amsterdam or Belfast City] route has attracted sufficient forward bookings to warrant them continuing.”

It went further to say that it would finish off the summer 2019 season and would operate the last flight from the airport on Saturday 26th October 2019.

More route cuts?

Despite this, its website is still listing flights for the winter season, although passengers wishing to book these routes are greeted with the message: “Something went wrong.”

Flybe Departs From Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Flybe not willing to let go of its Doncaster flights. Photo: Flybe

And, with all these route cuts, you could be fooled into thinking that something really is going wrong for the airline.

Earlier this month, Flybe also announced that it would be closing its Isle of Man base and Business Traveller also reported that the airline would be axing the following routes, in addition to the two closures at Doncaster Sheffield:

  • East Midlands-Edinburgh
  • East Midlands-Glasgow
  • East Midlands-Jersey
  • Manchester-Toulouse
  • Manchester-Milan Malpensa
  • Leeds-Dusseldorf
  • Southampton-Dusseldorf

So, what’s going on?

A positive step in the right direction?

In its statement, Flybe said that the changes were all to do with a network review which focuses on optimizing its flying schedule for the winter season. It said the review intended to:

“…strengthen the commercial viability of its 2019-20 Winter schedule, further optimise its flying programme and improve profitability in line with its previously announced planned fleet reduction.”

According to Air Fleets, the airline currently has 72 aircraft including 54 Dash 8-400s and a selection of 16 Embraer.

Flybe Departs From Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Flybe’s Embraer still in the fleet but not at Doncaster. Photo: Flybe

If the optimism in its statement is to be believed, then perhaps the route closures are just the beginning of Connect Airways’ plans to bring Flybe back from collapse. Of course, alarm bells start ringing when we remember that the buy-out was meant to see Flybe continue to operate as normal. The first significant change was said to be an updated livery representing Connect Airways.

For this one, we’ll need to keep our eyes peeled, not only to see how this story unfolds but also to make sure our Flybe flights are still in service!

Do service cancellations spell out danger to you? How do you think Flybe will fare? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.