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Flybe announces its first Summer flight schedule under Virgin Atlantic ownership

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Flybe has launched its Summer schedule for 2020, which will be the first to reflect its new focus under Virgin Atlantic ownership.  Seven new routes have been announced.

Having attended the Virgin Connect (as Flybe will be rebranded) launch event last month, I can confirm that the new management team is very focused on returning the airline to profitability.  Part of this was to be a razor-sharp focus on routes where it believes it can make money over the long term.

The biggest changes will be at London Southend Airport.  Perhaps not coincidentally, Southend is owned by Stobart Group which is also a shareholder in Flybe.

Six new routes will be launched from Southend to Belfast City, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey.  Existing services from Southend to Caen, Groningen, Newquay and Rennes will continue.  Loganair immediately responded by announcing plans to drop its own Southend to Glasgow service.

The only other brand new route is Manchester to Stuttgart.  Growth elsewhere is focused on increasing frequency on core business routes from Manchester and Southampton as well as retiming flights to better fit around the working day.

The BBC is reporting, however, that Southampton Airport is due to see substantial cuts overall.  Routes to Faro, Palma, Alicante, Malaga, Biarritz, Nantes, Bordeaux, Dusseldorf and Bastia will be dropped.  Flybe is the dominant carrier at the airport and this will cause it substantial difficulties unless new carriers come in.

With the exception of Dusseldorf, the Southampton changes seem to be in line with Flybe’s new approach.  It will be reducing its focus on holiday routes in order to concentrate on business and ‘visiting friends and family’ services.

Flybe has said that there will be more announcements to come so we can expect additional services to be announced over the coming months.

Tickets are now on sale at flybe.com for the Summer season, which runs until late October.

Comments (194)

  • Paul says:

    Prima Vista will refresh the food and beverage menu with an innovative, high-end offering, and a different menu will be exclusively designed by a professional chef each season.😳😳😳😳
    That won’t be a difficult task, the greasy spoon near my office could have done a better job than BA! The place was dire!
    Isn’t the lounge next door ( used by QR) also priority pass?
    In Europe at least the need for status diminishes every day. For £575 a year you get free lounge access and a wide range of other benefits from amex platinum. If you travel only once or twice a year just buy access

  • Freddy says:

    OT, been given a large increase on curve to 100k! Any savings account I can use with curve to make deposit?

  • Zoe says:

    If you are considering Flybe for the first time and likely to be hand luggage only please bear in mind that their luggage checking cages are very tight to their dimensions. Staff (at least in Southampton) are very happy to take £40 / £50 a bag if you are mm over. It might be that under Virgin they have become more customer focused but in September it seemed like staff were incentivised to get as many bag as possible diverted to the hold.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      If they are very tight to their dimensions, this implies that they are oversized and therefore generous. The great thing about numbers is that they aren’t subjective. If the cages were exact to the dimensions that would also be fine. The key, read the rules before one fly’s not when at the airport, or not at all.

      • Zoe says:

        It is the last time I’ll ask my husband to measure cases and not double check the measurements. Although it was our own fault and we could afford it I was still less than impressed and keen for others not to make the same mistake. On our return we took the wheels off our bags and of course they fitted in the overheads with about 20cm to spare. There is nothing quite like someone gleefully sending you to the extra Customer Service desk they had open in Southampton just to collect the extra fee.
        Rob did they mention how much of their turnover was generated by baggage fees collected at the airports?

    • Rob says:

      £35 now, it was reduced. Zero leeway given though.

    • Andrew says:

      Isn’t the problem that the luggage manufacturers are slack with their measurements? If I buy handluggage that is marked as 350mm wide, 200mm deep, I don’t expect it to be 370mm wide and 220mm deep at the base/wheels.

      I’ve taken the precaution of pre-checking my Flybe cases in the cages at EDI when I’m using other airlines. Of course, it’s also really irritating when you do make the effort of measuring and buying exact sized luggage and find the rest of the queue are carrying massive carry ons with no checking being done whatsoever.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    All we need now is an update on the Virgin Connect loyalty scheme or is it a given that it will simply be Virgin Miles as per Virgin Atlantic?

  • BJ says:

    O/T for Bicester Village fans: amex offer £50 on £500 on BA Blue.

  • Mikeact says:

    Southampton lost their way years ago….good example, KIM…now you see them, now you don’t. And now Flybe, with eight routes going…not all the airports fault that one, but look at the growth of nearby Bournemouth. And look at the prices from Southampton. I wrote to them a long while back….pricing so uncompetitive, they forced me to drive to Gatwick or Heathrow. I have little sympathy with their operation.

    • Shoestring says:

      Plymouth City Airport is the one that annoys me – decent number of people within the catchment area but the owners couldn’t make it work so it’s mothballed – now protected as an aviation site for future use so can’t be sold for housing etc. Commercially would have been better to develop Plymouth than Newquay IMV – but happy enough with Newquay as it’s just down the road 🙂

    • Doug M says:

      Does the catchment area support airports at Southampton and Bournemouth. That seems really silly to me, albeit I don’t know the area well.

    • Ralph says:

      Southampton doesn’t have a long enough runway for the usual low cost carrier jets. Trying to get permission to extend for a while; currently out for consultation. Bournemouth has a longer runway to accommodate 737/A320.

    • Lady London says:

      I suspect BRS is taking business from SOU.

      • Shoestring says:

        they just got a bit of business from us 5 mins ago as my wife & daughter decided to go to Malaga next half term from there not Exeter (better itinerary)

  • Lee Poedersnall says:

    Sorry but I do not agree the new offering in Amsterdam is “premium”. The old offering was much better, with soup and other proper foods, malt whiskies and good wines. Now it is just basic brands and crisps galore.
    The old staff was also made redundant I think as no more.

    • Andy C says:

      I agree, there is little to no difference. Food is worse. I can only think that they pushed the boat out for the press. The lounge is almost always at capacity between 4-8 pm, so the priority pass thing is idiotic, and will really piss off status users.

  • Michael C says:

    In reality they’ll end up restricting Priority Pass like they do almost everywhere else.