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Flybe drops three upcoming Southampton routes

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Flybe appears to have scrapped plans for expansion at Southampton Airport.

Three new routes – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester – were due to launch in May 2023 but have now disappeared from the airline website.

The only Southampton route currently on sale is Belfast, which launches in February.

Flybe drops three upcoming Southampton routes

It isn’t clear if Flybe is giving up on Southampton. The ‘old’ Flybe had a substantial operation at the airport, because it has the benefits of a fairly large catchment area and a runway which was too short to take the Airbus and Boeing aircraft used by Ryanair, easyJet etc. This left the door open for Flybe.

British Airways is continuing with its weekend services from Southampton via BA CityFlyer so the demand is clearly there.

The economics are a little different for BA, however, because these flights use aircraft which usually serve London City Airport which is closed for 24 hours at the weekend. As long as the services cover their marginal costs it is worth BA operating them.

Comments (38)

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  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    That made me look as Fidenza Village near Bologna is part of the ‘Bicester Collection’. It doesn’t seem to be running double points but the offer seems better for BA 5 Avios for every euro, IB/EI is 5 Avios for 4 euro, QR is 4 Avios per euro. So in this case BA is the better option.

    There’s loads of these Bicester style villages dotted around Europe so if you’re travelling and want to shop there its worth seeing what the earnings are and if you want Avios choose the most generous of the airline options as you can move them around.

    The new Flybe is living up to the old Flymaybe reputation. Hopefully they can find a niche but it seems like they can’t settle on anything.

    • Andrew J says:

      The Paris one is very accessible by RER from central Paris (about 30 mins), located one stop before Disneyland Paris. And of course if you wanted to claim your tax back on your shopping, you could too. There’s also that “shop in France” Amex offer, spend £175, get £35 back which is valid at the village.

    • Sloth says:

      Thanks for this, I didn’t even realise they had these in Europe, will def look at the one near Brussels and near Bologna

      • JDB says:

        ‘The Mall’ Florence isn’t part of the Bicester family but is a much superior experience and has far more genuine articles vs made for outlet ones.

        • sloth says:

          thanks, that one looks good. Was only in Bologna and Florence this July but planning on returning soon enough so even more reasons to do so

  • Jan M says:

    Will there be an article about the impact of the Avios devaluation on Barclaycard voucher holders? I have been looking out for it and think I saw it promised somewhere.

  • Andrew J says:

    There’s a customer service centre in the middle of the Carpark too, if you’re not travelling by train, you don’t need to go all the way to the train station. And remember if you have Amex Plat you can also get hands-free shopping and 10% extra off some items in a few of the boutiques, and most of the restaurants – get your card from one of the customer service centres.

    • Benjamin Murphy-Ryan says:

      Also Amex platinum gets access to reserved parking too (valet park area but it’s currently self park).

  • PeterK says:

    Emerald is also an Irish airline so why must EI close its BHD-LHR route but Emerald can continue to operate to other UK points. EI also holds a UK AOC so why couldn’t they have continued using that ‘vehicle’ ?

    • SamG says:

      Strange isn’t it as the Emerald flights operate on EI- reg aircraft which I understood is the issue here

      EI UK only has A330 and A321 and is Manchester based so isn’t practical to have 1 x A320 on the G- reg presumably. The other option would have been a couple of A320s at LHR covering multiple flights to Ireland as well to get scale but presumably been ruled out !

    • John G says:

      Would love someone to answer this as I’ve been wondering about it myself.

    • Tim says:

      Brexit makes plenty of things more difficult but few things impossible. That means it is sometimes a contributory factor to a decision based on many factors. Depending on the politics required either the impact of Brexit is either ignored or Brexit is made to take 100% of the blame. My assumption here is that routes flown by Emerald are sufficiently important for them to find a way for them to continue, whereas for mainline EI doing the same was deemed not worth the effort

    • Declan says:

      What domestic UK route does Emerald fly? Aer Lingus and Emerald can continue to operate international Ireland-UK routes but only a UK airline can operate domestic services as the UK is no longer in the EU.

      • Michael says:

        Emerald operates a decent network of Belfast – UK cities from BHD. It has a UK AOC and enough of a network to have part of its fleet UK registered and based in BHD.

        EI mainline only has BHD-LHR as UK domestic and it’s presumably not worth having only 1 A320 on the UK AOC. That said they could operate BHD- GB – DUB /ORK/SNN as W patterns but I suspect it’s too much effort and complexity. They do this to rotate which aircraft is in BHD and did this for the fourth BHD rotation when it operated – the other three were a shuttle from BHD.

        Belfast-LON is a crowded market with EasyJet massive to LGW from BFS and BHD and Flybe back on BHD-LHR. APD had to be paid on both legs which reduces yields.

      • PB says:

        BHX – BHD for one.

        • soloflyer1977 says:

          I think the main reason for the EI withdrawal is that if they allocate an A320 for the BHD-LHR route, then they could use that a320 for domestic UK routes (i.e. could not use it for onward LHR-DUB routes) which may mean that from an economic perspective it does not work. Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving…

        • Declan says:

          Sorry, didn’t realise this. Presume these are operated by Emerald Airlines UK ( a company established in Northern Ireland) and not directly by the Irish airline.

    • Ian says:

      Emerald has also created a UK subsidiary to place aircraft on the UK register. I presume it too has a temporary agreement with the CAA until it can transfer enough aircraft from the Irish register.

      • SamG says:

        Yes must be that their arrangement ends later than EI mainline. Agree they have enough scale to G- reg their aircraft + their Dublin flights mainly (all?) Fly to/from the UK anyway so they can arrange lines of flying out of Dublin too with these if required

  • KP says:

    Timely article as I’m on my way to bicester today

    • The Original Nick says:

      Bicester Town or Bicester Village Shopping Outlet? These two places are a completely different place.

      • Andrew J says:

        Errr Bicester Village is in the town of Bicester….

        • RussellH says:

          No, the shopping “village” is on the edge of Bicester.
          Bicester Village station used to be Bicester Town station (until 1968, when it closed, it was Bicester London Road), but it was decided to rename it for the benefit of the overseas visitors. People living in Bicester were no amused.
          The station is not actually at the village – a shuttle bus connects them.
          The main station in Bicester is Bicester North.

          • Andrew J says:

            But the shopping village is in the town of Bicester. Town doesn’t mean the high street, it means the postal town.

          • Rob says:

            The new Bicester Village station is directly in the village – 60 seconds from platform to shops. No buses.

          • Save East Coast Rewards says:

            I always thought you needed a shuttle bus, but Rob says otherwise, so it appears Wikipedia is wrong here. Just to verify I looked at a map and the station is very close to the outlet village so definitely a short walk – the renaming makes sense. In the 80s Surrey Docks underground (now overground) station was renamed Surrey Quays after the nearby shopping centre and decline of the docks.

            According to the Bicester Village website the shuttle bus is from Bicester North station for arrivals from Birmingham.

            Someone with an account should edit the Wikipedia article for the station to remove mention of the shuttle bus.

          • Andrew J says:

            Yes I can verify that the London (and Oxford) train arrives at the Village station which as Rob says is right at the village – it’s the same distance as walking from your car in the carpark to the shops. The Birmingham train, (and the London train if you get the wrong one) will drop you at Bicester North then take the shuttle bus, or a 15 minute walk through the town centre to the village if the weather is nice.

          • Andrew. says:

            Bicester Village station is definitely at Bicester Village, simply walk through the multistorey car park and you’re at the shops.

            Bicester Village has more than double the number of passengers than Bicester North station – it’s clearly the town’s main station. That’ll leap again when e-w opens.

          • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

            You don’t need an account to edit a wiki post though it will likely get flagged for someone to check so best to include citations such as newspaper articles, the village website if it says the station is close to the village

            I have anonymously edited pages and included citations and they remained. Another (still accurate) but without citations was deleted. When I re-edited it with them it remaimed

          • Alex Sm says:

            @Save East Coast Rewards You don’t need to wait for “someone”, you can edit a Wikipedia article yourself, you don’t even need an account for that. Instead of writing a comment here, you could have already done a useful thing on Wiki 🙂

  • SamG says:

    No trains to either today though…

    If travelling over the next few weeks note that trains are hourly to each station (Bicester North requiring a shuttle) with later start/early finish times

    • SamG says:

      Also no trains from Oxford City Centre, need to take bus from Oxford Parkway or just use a Stagecoach etc bus all the way

  • Jacob says:

    Flybe isn’t giving up on Southampton and reportedly still plans to base an aircraft there next summer.

  • C Rodgers says:

    Be careful at Bicester. As part of their overly complicated avios redemption process, I was told that the credit card used has to match the name of the BA account, or no points! Thankfully, they allowed a screen shot of our household account and awarded us the points!

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