Collapsed European regional airline Flybe has taken another step towards restarting. The new airline has received 86 slots at London’s Heathrow Airport for Summer 2021. These will be used to connect Aberdeen and Edinburgh with the city, if the airline takes off.
Flybe to connect Scotland with London
The long-running story of the re-emergence of much-loved UK regional airline Flybe looks set to be taking a positive turn. On the back of the news that one aircraft is registered to the new company, the airline now seems to have picked up a swathe of rare slots at London’s Heathrow Airport.
As first spotted by Head For Points, the new Flybe has received no less than 86 slots to operate from Heathrow for the summer season. The airline will use the slots for 25 flights a week to Edinburgh, and 18 a week to Aberdeen.
The slots have been transferred from UK flag carrier British Airways. It appears that the deal was done under the same rules as Flybe’s previous slot allocation in a bid to ensure competition remained in the market.
However, as HFP points out, these slots are only for the summer season. There is no guarantee Flybe will secure slots for winter 2021, which would put it in a difficult position.
There is also the issue of aircraft. The ‘old’ Flybe had the biggest fleet of Dash-8s in the world. Since its collapse, all those aircraft have gone back to their lessors. However, with the industry remaining depressed, few have found new homes, so it’s likely the new Flybe could just lease back the capacity it is missing, if the lessors are willing to do business with the airline again.
Right now, just one Dash 8 is registered to the new Flybe. The company was officially formed on April 13th, when Thyme Opco re-registered itself as Flybe Limited. G-CLXC has been stored at Exeter in the southwest of the UK since it arrived from Zagreb in early March. At present, the airline still wears some elements of the Austrian Airlines livery, and has not been repainted in the iconic Flybe purple.
G-CLXC not sporting any new livery although it was doing test flights yesterday. https://t.co/QIrBvj0zr6
— Fergus Allan (@fergus_allan_) March 8, 2021
Will it take off?
All signs are positive that a new Flybe will emerge at some point this year. There are still hurdles to overcome, not least the outcome of the appeal currently ongoing with the CAA to prevent its operating license from being revoked. There are also the issues of crew, pilots, ground support and much more to deal with.
If Flybe does take off in Summer 2021, will its Scottish routes be a success? It’s not looking good. Previous route analysis by Simple Flying showed that both Aberdeen and Edinburgh are currently better served to Heathrow than they were when Flybe mark one existed. Edinburgh has seven more weekly departures, an increase of 17%, while Aberdeen, with its additional seven departures, is up 37%.
Far more important would be routes like Aberdeen to Jersey, Belfast City to Newquay and Cardiff to Edinburgh, which have lost 100% of their departures for Summer 2021. But it’s likely the new Flybe owners know this, and will lay plans for more services as the airline begins to rebuild.
Are you excited to see Flybe back in the skies? Let us know in the comments.