Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has announced plans to open its first European crew base on February 1, 2017, having secured an agreement with Dusseldorf Airport. The airline, which is currently in the process of recruiting a new Chief Executive, says Germany is now becoming an increasingly important market. It already offers six routes to Dusseldorf, flying from Birmingham, Cardiff, Doncaster Sheffield, Manchester and Southampton with the latest route from London City having started last month.
Dusseldorf is the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the most populous state in Germany and the city’s airport is the country’s third largest commercial airport, with approximately 22 million annual passengers a year passing through its doors.
In preparation for the opening of the new base, Flybe has recently embarked on a high-profile recruitment drive for more than 60 pilots and cabin crew, together with identifying and sourcing a complement of engineering support for the two 78-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft. These aircraft currently serve Dusseldorf with UK-based crew.
In readiness for the start of operations at the beginning of February 2017, the first crew have already been recruited and will start training at the airline’s Training Academy in Exeter in early January. Flybe says it is also using the opportunity to widen its recruitment net in continental Europe beyond Germany.
Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer, Vincent Hodder commented: “The decision to open a new crew base in Dusseldorf marks an important milestone for Flybe. Regional communities are increasingly under-served by mainstream airlines and alternative modes of transport in mainland Europe as they are in the UK. Local basing of aircraft and crew will help us serve the local community in and around Dusseldorf much more cost-effectively. With strong business as well as leisure traffic resulting from Germany’s position as a key economic powerhouse, there is a high travel propensity for both.”
“We are very pleased that Flybe relies on Dusseldorf,” added Thomas Schnalke, the airport’s CEO. “The airline’s commitment to NRW’s largest airport demonstrates the attractiveness of the location and the importance of the entire region.”