U.K. airline Flybe, one of the largest regional airlines in Europe has battled to survive, and is now emerging from a long dark period that almost saw it go under, on at least three occasions.
Part of its burden has been a fleet of 5 E195’s the lessor refused to take back because Flybe couldn’t pay the penalties.
At one point the airlines cheapest option was to simply store them at Cardiff – they spent over a year there while the airline paid for them.
The E195s were always too big for Flybe – no route could justify their use and the managers who ordered them back in 2007 were all long gone. It was a bit like easyJet owning a 777 – it never would fit the airlines profile.
Flybe were able to bring them into use and at least get them to partly pay their way, but it was never willingly. Next year they finally leave the airlines service. Some estimates say they have been the cause of much of Flybe’s losses over the past years.
Flybe also announced its decision to cut the fleet to 70 from 84, with the oldest Dash-8’s being disposed of, but retaining some of the middle-aged aircraft for longer.
The airline is also going to stick to its acquisition of its 5 E-175’s that will bring the total to 11. They can be operated profitably on longer routes – Milan for example. The aircraft will not be E2 versions but will have new wing treatments that make them more fuel efficient.
Airlines like Flybe always impress me with their staying power, sometimes even the most vulnerable can pull through – and Flybe has. It’s future is even more important to the U.K. with Brexit just down the road.