Flybe: Wikis


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Founded 1979 (as Jersey European Airways)
Frequent flyer program Rewards4all
Fleet size 72 (+8 orders)
Destinations 45
Parent company Rosedale (J.W.) Investments Limited
Headquarters Jack Walker House
Exeter International Airport
East Devon, Devon, United Kingdom
Key people Jim French (CEO)
Jack Walker (Founder)
Andrew Knuckey (CFO)
Mike Rutter (CCO)
Andrew Strong (COO)

Flybe Limited (styled as flybe) is a British airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in East Devon, Devon, England.[1] It operates around 180 routes between 55 European airports.[2] The airline's largest base is Southampton Airport and it has other large bases at Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport and Belfast City Airport and 14 aircraft and crew bases across the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[3]



Flybe started operations on 1 November 1979 as Jersey European Airways (JEA), after taking over the operations of Intra Airways. Jersey European Airways was the brainchild of John Habin, a resident of Jersey and the majority investor in JEA. Having sold Aviation Beauport and other business interests, Habin established a few key routes from Jersey to the UK. Jersey European Airways was taken over in 1983 by Jack Walker's Walker Steel Group who were already the parent company of Blackpool based charter airline Spacegrand Aviation. The two airlines were run separately, with partially shared management, until their amalgamation within the Walker Aviation Group in 1985, under the Jersey European name.

The airline rebranded as British European in June 2000, shortening this title to Flybe on 18 July 2002 and repositioning itself as a full service, low-fare airline. On 3 November 2006 it was announced that agreement in principle had been reached for Flybe to acquire BA Connect, with the exception of London City Airport services. The acquisition was completed in March 2007. The airline is owned by Rosedale Aviation Holdings (69%), Flybe staff (16%) and British Airways (15%) as a consequence of the acquisition of BA Connect. It had 3,000 employees at January 2008.[4] As per the CAA's April/May 2009 passenger statistics, Flybe is now the UK's largest domestic airline (26% of total UK domestic passengers that flew during April chose a Flybe-branded flight, 3% more than those who chose an easyJet-branded flight). It carried 451,413 domestic passengers during April 2009, excluding franchise flights operated by Loganair. This puts Flybe in pole position among the UK's domestic carriers, ahead of easyJet, British Airways, the BMI Group and Ryanair. During that period Flybe also became London Gatwick's leading domestic operator.[5] Chief Executive Officer, Jim French was recognised in the 2009 Queens Birthday Honours’ List with a CBE for his services to the UK airline industry.

On 11 February 2010, Flybe announced that it is to start flights from Manchester to Bournemouth, linking up two airports of the Manchester Airport Group for the first time. These flights will start from 27 May 2010. This will be in direct competition to Flybe's own Manchester to Southampton flights.

Bombardier Dash 8 in planform view
Embraer 195 taxis at Manchester Airport, England
British Aerospace 146
BAe 146 in the colours of an internet gaming company. Glasgow International Airport (2006)
An interior of a Flybe Embraer 195.

Acquisition of BA Connect

On 5 March 2007 Flybe completed the acquisition of the former regional airline business of British Airways. The purchase was first announced on 3 November 2006 with British Airways acquiring a 15% stake in the airline. The acquisition (which did not include BA Connect's London City Airport routes, which have been taken over by BA CityFlyer) has increased Flybe's route network in both the UK and continental Europe making Flybe Europe's largest regional airline.[6]

Loganair franchise agreement

On 14 January 2008 it was announced that Flybe had signed a franchise agreement with Scottish airline Loganair, to commence on 26 October 2008 following the termination of Loganair's franchise agreement with British Airways on 25 October 2008.

The agreement will see Loganair aircraft flying in Flybe colours on 55 routes from Scotland.[7]


Flybe operates short haul services to destinations throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and continental Europe.

Flybe franchise and codeshare destinations



As of December 2009, the Flybe fleet includes the following aircraft:[8]

Flybe Fleet
Aircraft In Service On Order
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 58 8
Embraer E-195 14 0
Total 72 8

As of December 2009 the average age of the Flybe fleet was 3.2 years.[9]

Aircraft orders

  • On 6 June 2005, Flybe placed an order for 14 Embraer E-195 aircraft plus options on an additional 12 aircraft. Flybe is the worldwide launch customer for the Embraer E-195. Delivery of the aircraft started in September 2006 and will be completed in October 2008. The new aircraft were to replace Flybe's BAe 146 aircraft, completing the fleet rationalisation started in 2003 which also includes an order for up to 61 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft (41 firm orders and 20 options).
  • On 14 June 2005, Flybe converted four existing Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 options into firm orders bringing its fleet of Q400s to 45 aircraft when they are delivered.[10]
  • On 1 September 2006, the airline received its first 118-seat Embraer 195, the launch customer of the product. Fitted with single Head-up Guidance System (HGS) and configured to offer single-class service, the aircraft is intended to be used within Flybe’s network, replacing the airline’s BAe 146s.
  • In May 2007, the airline signed a deal for 15 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft valued at $394 million, with options for a further 15. It is the world's largest Q400 operator and this order will increase its Q400 fleet to 60.[11]

Previously operated

Inflight services

Flybe operates a buy on board programme offering food and drinks for purchase.[12]


  • British Airways - Flybe codeshares on several routes, primarily those to and from Manchester, Birmingham, London Gatwick (Inverness & Aberdeen) and Edinburgh, following Flybe's takeover of BA Connect in March 2007.
  • Etihad Airways - A new codeshare between Flybe and Etihad became effective on the 13 November 2009. Flybe uses a codeshare on Etihad flights between the UAE carrier's Abu Dhabi base and Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt while Etihad will codeshare on Flybe services between these three points and Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverness, the Isle of Man and Southampton. This agreement has extended Flybe's reach into new long-haul markets and opens up new travel options for its regional passengers.[13][14]

Flybe has interline partnerships with airlines including American Airlines, BMI, Continental Airlines, Emirates Airline, Ghana International Airlines, Korean Air, Northwest, Singapore Airlines, TAP Portugal, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic[15].

Controversial commercial practices

In order to avoid a £280,000 commercial penalty, Flybe has hired actors to fill aircraft. Failing to reach quotas of passengers, Flybe decided to boost passenger numbers by hiring 172 actors as "fake passengers"[16][17][18]. "It doesn't seem to be in the spirit of the agreement, but more than anything our concerns are about the unnecessary impact on the environment," said Norwich Airport managing director Jon Lenon. Friends of the Earth has called on the government to launch an investigation into the aviation industry following this practice of Flybe.[19]

Like other low-cost carriers (such as Ryanair or Easyjet), Flybe is accused of offering "free" tickets to boost passenger numbers and reach quota agreements signed with airports. For instance, on 27 March 2008, an offer appeared on the Flybe's website advertising "free flights to Dublin this weekend" and offering 200 free return tickets.[citation needed]


  • November 2009: Most Environmentally and Socially Responsible Budget Airline’ award at The British Travel Awards 2009 (Second year running)
  • October 2009: ICARUS Environmental Award at the Environmental Supplier Awards organised by the Institute of Travel & Meetings (ITM) UK & Ireland
  • September 2009: European Airline MRO of the Year by AVIATION WEEK’s Overhaul & Maintenance (O&M) magazine.
  • January 2009: Air Transport World 2009 Global Regional Airline of the year
  • December 2008: Buying Business Travel ‘Green Diamond’ award for environmental commitment
  • November 2008:
    • Best Domestic Airline at the 16th Annual Scottish Passenger Agents Association (SPAA) Travel Awards
    • Most Environmentally Responsible Budget Airline award at the British Travel Awards
  • October 2008:
    • Brussels Airport Environmental Award for 2008
    • Number 1 in the Sunday Times 2008 Top Track 250 of privately-owned companies
  • September 2008: Special Merit for Commitment to the Environment Award at the 2008 Budgie Awards
  • July 2008: Jim French awarded 2008 Regional Leadership Award at the Global Airline Strategy Awards
  • March 2008: Franco-British Chamber of Commerce Achievement of the Year Award
  • June 2007: Flight International ‘Best Management Team 2007’ Award



External links


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