Flybe is greatly missed by passengers, but is not irreplaceable Business News

Flybe, I miss you. It’s been 15 months since I’ve been to Birmingham Airport on rumors that the UK’s largest regional airline won’t survive the night – and it turned out. On March 5, 2020, at 2 a.m., passengers with flights booked that day on Flybe were told, “Please do not go to the airport because your flight will not operate.”

As more than 2,000 excellent staff learned they were losing their jobs, all future departures for the Exeter-based airline were canceled, as were the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of passengers with term bookings. .

I started flying with the carrier while he was still European Jersey, and doing “wet rental” work for Air France – passengers flying for the French carrier between Toulouse and Heathrow. I missed the brief interlude when he was British European, but picked it up when Flybe was conceived of as a name for “the era of memorable URLs”.

Peak Flybe performed in December 2010, when it went public and was briefly worth a quarter of a billion pounds. Unfortunately, at the end of his life, the stock market valuation was approximately zero.

One boarding pass calculation is that each of us who flew with Flybe in the last year of our lives were subsidized to the tune of £ 20 per flight by shareholders, including Virgin Atlantic, who saw their £ 100million. -more investments disappear.

Another partner, Cyrus Capital, has bought the brand from the receiver and promises to revive the airline – starting with flights from Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh, using slots that date back to British Airways’ takeover of BMI in 2012. This would bring welcome competition. for BA between London and East Scotland – but it’s hard to see where a resurgent Flybe could carve out plausible market share.

Today, aviation analyst Sean Moulton wrote a blog in which he argues that Flybe’s failure has benefited an airport that previously depended on it: George Best Belfast City. Before the collapse, seven out of ten seats to and from Northern Ireland Airport were on board Flybe – which had four out of five flights (the gap is due to Flybe’s planes being over smaller than BA buses).

Now, he says, Belfast City is less dependent on a single carrier. Eastern Airways, BA CityFlyer and Aer Lingus Regional are all there, along with Loganair – now the UK’s largest regional airline. And Ryanair has just returned to start European operations.

“The airport has become more resistant to external factors,” writes Moulton. “If another airline collapses, the airport should be able to recover.”

In addition: “Not depending on a single airline allows the airport to have more leeway to negotiate agreements with the airlines.”

Conventional wisdom suggests that losing a major competitor in a market is necessarily bad for the consumer.

Yet while it is horrific to see aviation professionals losing their livelihoods, the history of the aviation industry shows us that removing loss-making (or subsidy-dependent) carriers leads in the long run to a healthier market. and more robust where the best players are rewarded for delivering great value, and expansion is the name of the game.

With the coronavirus pandemic still traumatizing the aviation industry, it is too early to say how passengers on UK regional roads will fare. But the signs are positive.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-01 18:21:26

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