Flybe has finally revealed its route network for when it officially restarts its flying programme on 13th April.
Flights start at £19.99 one-way, which includes a £10 discount valid today (Tuesday) only.
When Flybe collapsed in 2020 we weren’t particularly hopeful that it would ever return. The subsequent sale of assets by the administrators in late 2020 seemed more of a play for Flybe’s precious Heathrow landing slots than a serious plan to reboot the airline.
We were wrong. In the past 17 months Flybe’s new owners have slowly been ramping up operations with the intention of restarting flights this Summer.
The image above is the old purple livery. The new livery is pictured further down the page.
Where is Flybe flying to in 2022?
Flybe is operating an impressive 23 routes, a far bigger launch than we were expecting. That said, this is still significantly down on the 70 destinations it operated to in 2019, according to aviation analytics firm Cirium.
The majority of flights are operated from Belfast City or Birmingham, its two main bases. The first flight will be from Birmingham to Belfast City on 13th April with a departure time of 08:55.
Here is the full list of routes:
From Belfast City
- Belfast City – Birmingham from 13th April (up to 4x daily)
- Belfast City – Glasgow from 14th April up (up to 4x daily)
- Belfast City – Leeds Bradford from 28th April (up to 3x daily)
- Belfast City – London Heathrow from 28th April (up to 2x daily)
- Belfast City – Amsterdam from 28th May (daily)
- Belfast City – Edinburgh from 23rd June up (3x daily)
- Belfast City – East Midlands from 7th July (up to 2x daily)
- Belfast City – Manchester from 7th July (4x daily)
- Belfast City – Southampton from 28th July (up to 2x daily)
- Belfast City – Aberdeen from 25th August (up to 4x weekly)
- Belfast City – Inverness from 25th August (up to 4x weekly)
- Belfast City – Newcastle from 25th August (daily)
- Birmingham – Amsterdam from 28th April (daily)
- Birmingham – Brest Bretagne from 9th July (weekly)
- Birmingham – Avignon Provence from 9th July (weekly)
- Birmingham – Edinburgh from 28th July (up to 4x daily)
- Birmingham – Glasgow from 28th July (up to 3x daily)
- Birmingham – Aberdeen from 18th August (daily)
From other UK airports
- East Midlands – Amsterdam from 28th April (daily)
- London Heathrow – Leeds Bradford from 28th April (up to 3x daily)
- London Heathrow – Amsterdam From 29th May (up to 2x daily)
- Southampton – Avignon Provence from 23rd July (weekly)
- Southampton – Toulon Hyères from 24th July (weekly)
There are three routes to/from Heathrow: to Amsterdam, Belfast City and Leeds Bradford. All flights will be operated from Terminal 2.
The new routes are all sensible tried and tested destinations. Birmingham and Belfast City were Flybe’s 2nd and 3rd largest cities in 2019. Interestingly, the new owners have decided not to return to Manchester which was previously Flybe’s biggest airport.
‘New’ Flybe will face increased competition in a lot of places, however. Loganair, Eastern Airways and other domestic carriers quickly expanded to plug the gaps. Emerald Airlines, the new regional franchise partner for Aer Lingus, has also just launched at Belfast City.
Flybe operates in a very specific niche, on routes which are big enough to support an 80 seat aircraft but not big enough to attract interest from easyJet, Ryanair etc. It remains to be seen how many of these routes there are post-covid.
The Heathrow routes may not operate year-round
Flybe’s Heathrow position is a little odd.
‘Old Flybe’ picked up Summer and Winter slots under the ‘bmi remedy rules’ under which British Airways was required to release slots on specific routes. The deal was that, after three years, the slots vested and the airline holding them could fly to any destination in Europe.
As we understand it, at the time ‘old Flybe’ collapsed, the Summer slots had vested but the Winter slots had not.
Airlines are currently being invited to bid for the ‘bmi remedy’ slots for the upcoming Winter season – see here (PDF). Flybe would be forced to fly to Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Nice if it applied for them – it could not use them to continue Amsterdam, Belfast and Leeds Bradford. That said, it is likely that Flybe could borrow slots to continue these routes from other airlines who were not yet ready to go back to pre-covid frequencies.
What aircraft is Flybe using?
All flights will be operated by the De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 twin-turboprop (more commonly known as the ‘Dash 8’). These are likely to come with 82 economy seats in a 2-2 layout.
How much are flights?
Fares are available from £29.99 one-way, although Flybe is offering £10 off all one-way tickets today, 22nd March.
£13 of this is Air Passenger Duty so Flybe will be operating on thin margins, particularly with today’s high fuel prices. You can choose from three fare classes:
- Flybe Lite which includes a small cabin bag 45cm x 36cm x 26cm that must fit under the seat in front of you
- Flybe Smart which includes a free checked bag up to 15kg and free seat selection in the first 5 rows
- Flybe Plus which includes priority boarding, a checked bag up to 23kg, extra leg room seats and free flight changes
There is no loyalty programme available (yet?).
You can book on the Flybe website here.
PS. American Express is not accepted on the Flybe website!