Launched on the 1st of November 1979 as Jersey European Airways, Flybe began life as a small airline that offered flights to selected destinations around the United Kingdom. It was then re-branded as British European in 2000 and the current title was adopted in 2002. During the remainder of the decade, the airline has expanded its service route through buy-outs as well as establishing new routes that were previously not served by Flybe or any of its acquisitions. During 2009, the airline was recognised as the largest domestic airline in the United Kingdom as well as one of the more popular airlines with British clients.
Flybe History & Information
Headquarters for Flybe are situated at Jack Walker House, located on Exeter International Airport in Devon, England. In addition, a major base of operations is maintained at the Jersey Airport in the Channel Islands. Other bases are strategically located around the UK; Birmingham International Airport in Birmingham, London Gatwick Airport, Manchester Airport and Southampton Airport. A base at Belfast City Airport helps to provide efficient service to clients in the Northern Ireland area.
While offering a number of flights around the United Kingdom, Flybe also offers excellent services to several places around Europe, some of which are not directly served by other UK airlines. The Salzburg Airport in Austria is a common destination for Flybe, as in the Brussels Airport in Belgium. Two destinations in Croatia Dubrovnik and Split are also on Flybe's route system.
Routes to France are plentiful for Flybe customers and are heavily used. Along with the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, passengers can also enjoy flights to and from the Rennes-St. Jacques Airport in Rennes, the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Toulouse, the Cote d'Azur Airport in Nice, the Merignac Airport in Bordeaux and the Caumon Airport in Avignon.
There are five German routes available to Flybe passengers. Along with Dusseldorf International in Dusseldorf, there is also the option of flying into Frankfort Airport, the Hamburg Airport, the Stuttgart Airport and the Hanover Airport.
For travellers bound for Italy, Flybe offers flights to and from the Malpensa Airport in Milan. Anyone who wishes to enjoy the wonders of Switzerland can take a flight to Geneva. There are also seasonal skiing charters to Bern Airport for those who wish to organise a skiing holiday.
Flights to and from various points around the United Kingdom are the staple of Flybe's services. In England, flights in and out of the Robin Hood Airport make travelling easy for anyone bound for Doncaster or Sheffield. Flybe also serves the Durham Tees Valley Airport, offering flights for anyone going to Durham, Darlington or Middlesbrough. The Leeds Bradford Airport is also a route for Flybe as is the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool.
Scotland also hosts several regular Flybe destinations; these include Glasgow International Airport and Prestwick Airport in Glasgow, as well as the Inverness Airport, Dundee Airport and Aberdeen Airport. Northern Ireland is served by flights to the Belfast City Airport while Wales enjoys Flybe services to and from the Cardiff Airport.
The Flybe Fleet
Flybe currently operates a total of 72 aircraft to serve the various routes. The majority of the fleet is composed of Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 craft with fourteen Embraer E-195 craft completing the current fleet. Flybe currently has a total of eight additional Bombardier Dash 8 craft on order. The airline prefers to maintain a relatively youthful fleet with the average age of the total fleet just over three years.
As is true with many low cost airlines, the cabins on Flybe flights are a single class design. This allows for the maximum use of space for seating. No in-flight meals are included although the airline's buy on board programme allows passengers to choose from a selection of foods and beverages on a purchase basis only.
Part of the strategy for expansion involves the creation of codeshares with other airlines. Currently, this includes codeshares with British Airways for flights into several domestic airports including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen. In November 2009, a new codeshare was established between Etihad Airways and Flybe involving flights to and from Manchester, Paris and Frankfurt. The continuing creation of codeshares is expected to allow Flybe to move into new markets over time and expand the travel options it currently offers to long time customers.