Flybe to fly LHR-Scotland?

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  • rferguson

    Looks like they might be!

    The old BMI ‘remedy slots’ that BA had to make available to another airline operating to certain domestic destinations are currently sitting with BA after Virgin failed to make a good go of it.

    According to The Scotsman Flybe are looking at giving LHR ops a go. You can even earn Avios….


    Interesting, rferguson. Unless flybe are able to tie up code-share/ interline links through LHR, surely they will go the same way as Virgin? There is no value in offering this as a (very expensive) point-to-point service. Flybe currently operate alongside the likes of Air France and Emirates, maybe others. Such links would not be sufficient to sustain the route. I would give it 6 to 9 months max.


    Been using Flybe quite regularly recently and have found them to be quite good.

    I’d have thought that if Flybe were to give this a serious go, the first thing they would do is tie up with an airline alliance partner that needs feeder flights into LHR

    And the joke that was Wee Red, regardless of Branson’s bluster was they were tied to Skyteam.

    For me the obvious choice has to be…… Star Alliance
    and its links through UA, AC, SQ, SA etc make it a good fit.


    If Flybe do go into Heathrow they will feed Virgin flights on codeshares as well as other carriers. Easyjet will feed Virgin at Gatwick (yet to be officially announced) and I can see Flybe doing this at LHR in addition to other airports they already have the agreement in place.


    Is there as much demand from regionals to connect through LHR now compared to 5 or 10 years ago? Look at the airlines that now serve Edinburgh for example and the hub airports you can transit through to beyond points:

    United – EWR
    Delta & AA – JFK
    Qatar – Doha
    Etihad – Emirates
    Turkish – Istanbul

    This does not even mention the Western European carries either who have transit hubs.

    Just not sure if there is a population in the regions to demand more connectivity through LHR? It is expensive and most of the cost of the tickets are eaten up by tax.

    Little Red proved this, BA can make it work because their LHR fees is global and not just from the UK.


    I use FlyBe from time to time out of SOU and LCY, I like them. I worry however that their fragile finances will be busted by this expensive venture. Like TomInScotland I think it will be short lived, I just hope there is still a FlyBe at the end of it.


    My experiences in flying (or not) with Flybe are a bit different. I have used them a lot out of EDI, MAN, BHX, BHD, LCY and GLA and their record of getting me where I want, in the right place and on time is very poor. I have suffered excessive delays and cancellations at a whim and their customer service in getting passengers alternative means to their destinations when they do cancel is shockingly inadequate. This doesn’t bode well if you are looking to make a connection with a partner.

    On a recent trip out of LCY I sat looking at the departure boards and was glad I was taking an Avios flight with BA to EDI as the Flybe flights were either showing cancelled or delayed 2+ hours.

    I think if they get caught in the usual LHR delays, that are all too common, this will have a detrimental impact on their services across the board. I also agree that it could be short lived.

    For me the term Fly maybe sums them up.


    Some more analysis here. It must be remembered that in the past Flybe applied for slots at RAF Northolt but without success.

    Flybe to operate Heathrow domestic flights?


    Don’t forget, flybe is ‘Faster than road or rail’.

    For point-to-point traffic between Scotland and Heathrow, I seriously doubt it.


    I think a factor in Little Red being so unsuccessful in their venture was that their costs were too high – they were chartering Aer Lingus aircraft and pilots which must have cost a pretty penny.

    I guess if Flybe has the spare capacity to give the route a go, why not? The slots are there, it may go all wrong, it may be a success. Until they try no one will know.


    FlyBe only has to compete with Virgin Trains East Coast (see comments 1 week ago) who have increased business fares to £329 and they can make a profit on that fare since its a maximum 2 hours EDI-LHR and 1 hour to London.
    They were unable to use Northolt because it does not meet airline flight safety standards.


    My local airport is Aberdeen where BA have a monopoly to London on the ABZ-LHR route. Prices can vary from about £120 in advance for a return or up to £450. Most flights recently I have been on are full. ABZ airport is suffering with passenger numbers since the O&G downturn but the flights are still busy. The little red loads were never quite the same.

    I cant see it working in the long term although it might bring some more competitive prices short term? In Aberdeen we have multiple alliance options which people will prefer if they are making connections.

    Edited to add: I think I read somewhere that after 3 years of flying the route this enables them to keep the slots (very valuable LHR slots) and change the routes?


    peter19 – The three years of operation was a European Commission ruling made a few years ago.

    When airlines launch new routes they invariably have special fares and/or bonus loyalty points.

    Flybe already has code-shares in place with a number of airlines at regional airports. So one would imagine these would also apply at Heathrow.


    You can also accrue Avios on BE!


    I guess to be serious competition they will be using their E195s on LHR services. That aircraft has a decent customer appeal and it’s certainly nicer than an A320 with sardine configuration.

    Good luck to them and let’s hope they can sustain a decent level of service in what will be a very challenging environment.

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