2012 is a significant year for Flybe
, Europe’s largest regional airline, as it today celebrates the tenth anniversary since its changed business model transformed the then 23-year old airline, into Flybe. To mark the occasion it is offering 10% off bookings made before midnight on July 25th for travel through to October 25th on a selection of popular routes that include those serving some key Scottish airports as well as Belfast City, Birmingham, Exeter, London Gatwick, Southampton, and Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
Over the past ten years, the airline has prospered and grown despite the continued tough economic challenges faced by the aviation industry. Flybe has maintained its market stronghold and operates more UK domestic flights than any other carrier and is the leading airline at 12 UK airports, with a 28% UK domestic market share. It has also grown to incorporate, under the Flybe Group umbrella, Flybe Aviation Support that comprises its globally-respected Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul division, and the Flybe Training Academy.
At George Best Belfast City Airport Flybe has grown its route network from ten to seventeen destinations in the ten year period and experienced a 71% growth in passenger numbers.
Local Flybe employees have also increased in number from 184 to today’s total of over 250. Other headline statistics supporting Flybe’s first decade of growth are as follows:
Jim French, Flybe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer comments: “In 2002, we created a bright modern brand to survive in a highly competitive and aggressive new low-cost travel era and made changes to commercial, fleet and operational policies to transform the airline. That work continues today and Flybe continues to be the innovative airline it always has been.
“Most recently, we’ve expanded our business model into Finland through a joint venture with Finnair
, achieved significant success with the performance of our Aviation Support business and overseen the arrival during the past year of the first seven of our firm order with Embraer for 34 E175 jets.”
In striving to continually evolve to meet the needs of its passengers, in March, Flybe became the first ever independent carrier in the UK to create a regional network hub
from where travellers can now take advantage of many more improved onward connections, namely through Manchester International Airport
. And in April Flybe announced its first significant brand and product repositioning
in ten years having listened to what its customers and the wider market had been telling the industry. Under the strapline ‘Making flying better’, Flybe has responded with a number of major new initiatives that will be rolled out throughout 2012 to positively differentiate it against some of the negative perceptions of low fare travel. Amongst the first of these was the dropping debit card charges for online bookings, a move that has received widespread acknowledgement.
“Adds Mr French: “Flybe today is a business of real scale and substance and one that continues to demonstrate its resilience and innovation. We are proud not only of what we have achieved with a very stable workforce but also in having maintained our market leading positions which we look forward to strengthening even further over the next ten years.”
Flybe cabin crew members Paula O'Hara, left and Lisa Lundy help celebrate Flybe's tenth anniversary.