Flybe Celebrates Ten Years in Low-cost Role

This year is a significant year for Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, as 2012 marks the tenth anniversary since its changed business model transformed the then 23-year old airline, into Flybe.  
A statement from the airline says that it has prospered and grown over the last ten years despite the continued tough economic challenges faced by the aviation industry.  Flybe said that it 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 Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul division, and the Flybe Training Academy.
An example of the carrier’s growth can be seen in that in 2002 Flybe had 44 routes compared to today’s 211.   
Jim French, Flybe’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said: “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 March 2012, 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.  In April Flybe announced what it described as its first significant brand and product repositioning in ten years, “having listened to what 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 and, it says will, “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.”
Mr French added: “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.”