Last April the Belgian airline VLM proudly entered the jet age (see online news April 26, 2007). The acquisition of a single BAe146 was announced in a blaze of publicity. The 92-seat jet entered service on VLM’s popular London City (LCY) to Rotterdam route offering passengers smoother and faster flights.
It was a step change for this niche airline which, until then, had operated an all-turboprop fleet of F50s. But one year on and those smoother and faster flights are becoming a memory.
Earlier this month VLM withdrew that single BAe146 from its fleet. Passengers will once again have to get used to the slower F50s.
A VLM spokesman says that “the BAe146 has been returned to its lessor within the terms of its contract. Although the BAe146 is not ideal for such a short route, the trial was nevertheless considered successful.”
It’s understood today’s high cost of fuel (compared with what VLM had to pay 12 months ago) was a big factor in VLM’s decision to return the BAe146. The four-engined BAe146 jets are thirstier than VLM’s fleet of twin-engined F50 turboprops.
The carrier’s F50s now serve the LCY to Rotterdam route up to 10 times a day. In addition VLM’s F50s operate an additional 12 flights a day between LCY and nearby Amsterdam.
For more information go to flyvlm.com.
Report by Alex McWhirter