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Flybe – some interesting hard numbers on what has been lost

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I don’t usually drop in external commentary, but I was sent this article from travel data and analytics group Cirium and I thought it was worth running.  There are a lot of ‘facts’ floating around about Flybe which are not necessarily accurate.

Headline statistics

Flybe operated a total of 2,374 flights a week with 175,260 available seats from 43 different airports (January 2020)

It was the third largest airline in the UK, measured by volume of flights, after easyJet and British Airways

It represented 11% of all flights operated by UK carriers

Monopoly routes

83 routes were operated by Flybe as a monopoly, accounting for 86.4% of its network 

As of January, 88.8% of Flybe’s domestic routes (52) were not served by any other carrier along with 82.6% of its international routes (31)

Flybe’s monopoly routes accounted for 10,543 flights per month, which means a total of 791,550 available seats have been lost on routes solely operated by Flybe

For domestic flights, the airline’s busiest monopoly route was between Manchester and Belfast, with 348 flights and 27,036 available seats per month

The second most popular domestic monopoly service was between Birmingham and Belfast, with 316 flights and 25,588 available seats per month

The third busiest was between Birmingham and Edinburgh, with 316 flights and 25,208 seats available each month

Top routes

On UK domestic routes, Flybe was the largest operator measured by monthly flights, operating approximately 7,500 services, which accounted for 36% of the market

Its weekly busiest route was between Amsterdam and Birmingham, operating a total of 82 services and 6,916 available seats

This was closely followed by flights between Edinburgh and London, with 82 services each week offering 6,396 available seats

Flights between Belfast and Manchester were third most popular, with 76 services and 5,896 available seats per week


Flybe operated from a total of 43 airports across the UK and Europe

It flew 67 services per week, with 5,226 available seats, from its home at Exeter Airport

Its busiest airport by available seats per week was Manchester, which operated 245 Flybe services with a total of 19,432 seats

Close behind were Birmingham Airport, which operated 225 Flybe services with 18,402 available seats, and Southampton Airport which operated 223 Flybe services with 16,566 available seats each week

Comments (16)

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  • Peter K says:

    Lots of info on what capacity they offered. Not much on how many seats were actually bought/filled.

  • Alex says:

    Interesting numbers here. It would also be interesting to see what share of airport rotations and passenger numbers Flybe had. BHD and SOU spring to mind as clear losers but they can’t be the only ones.

  • Chris L says:

    Those aren’t really monopoly routes. EasyJet fly from Belfast Int (rather than City) to both Birmingham and Manchester, and they now serve Birmingham – Edinburgh. The real losers here are the likes of Exeter and Southampton – major cities whose airports are suddenly ghost towns.

    • Stu N says:

      Edinburgh/ Glasgow to Birmingham don’t start until summer timetable at end of month and drop from 4/5/6x daily to 2x daily.

      • David D says:

        Going from a 78 seater DH4 to a 156 seater A319 would make it necessary to cut the number of frequencies to those provided by EasyJet. I could not see them doubling demand on the same frequency which means they still provide at least the same number of seats per day based on the 4x frequency. If it is the A320 then it would be 180 or 186 seats so almost 5x frequency equivalent.

  • JRC says:

    Interesting but numbers don’t add up unfortunately. 2374 per week x 4.33 = 10,287 flights per month. But somehow 10,543 flights per month are monopoly which is > 100% of their monthly flights… suggest large pinch of salt with this data and article. I struggle to understand how there is demand for 5 flights per day between Birmingham and Belfast.

    • JG says:

      Well Birmingham has a large catchment and passengers from NI are still waiting for the bridge to Scotland… meanwhile on EZY BFS-BHX seats selling for over £200 next week, expect they will be adding more flights over the next month or two…

      • Michael says:

        And both Birmingham and Manchester acted as connecting hubs for Flybe which can be surprisingly useful from Belfast.

    • pauldb says:

      Must have an unusual definition of hub too.

      • JamesLHR says:

        Any airport which has connecting through ticketed flights can be defined as a hub academically.

        They aren’t just mega hubs like CDG, FRA or AMS.

  • MT says:

    Its the LCY flights that I wonder if will get picked up or lost that I find most interesting! It seemed from what you heard that they were some of the more profit making routes, but equally you would assume if they had been BA would have been competing on those routes!

  • RussellH says:

    Sorry, first line of quote got lost…

    “After the collapse of Flybe, many stranded customers will have to make their own alternative travel arrangements and others will be uncertain about whether they’ll be able to get money back for travel booked through for the airline. Jan Carton, our Senior Consumer Expert, warned Flybe customers to be wary of people getting in touch offering to act for you to recover your money. It may be a fraudster trying to take advantage of the situation.”

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