Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, says it has invested £2 million over the last year to attract “smart” business travellers.
With the aviation industry making cutbacks in the face of the fuel crisis, Flybe is taking an aggressive stance, focusing on ground services and technology, and introducing incentives not usually seen with low-cost carriers (such as its Rewards4all loyalty scheme), to woo cash-conscious business travellers.
Simon Lilley, director of marketing at Flybe, said: “Companies know that, when we encounter difficult times, it is not always about stopping travel. It’s more about being smart with travel choices and continuing to get out there to find new business.”
Flybe has opened eight new executive lounges over the last year for its Economy Plus passengers, offering free wifi access and refreshments. The most recent to open was at Newcastle. Economy Plus passengers can also gain access to Flybe’s partner lounges across Europe. (For a full list of lounges click here.)
Passengers can already check in online or at one of more than 80 self-service kiosks at airports around the UK, while mobile phone check-in facilities will be launched shortly.
Lilley said: “Business travellers who still want some of the perks but who can’t afford to fly British Airways and Lufthansa choose us. We have up to seven flights a day on some routes so we offer the shuttle-service mentality. Regional travellers can do business and be back the same day without having to travel to a major hub.”
Lilley was also confident that Flybe’s model would be largely unaffected by high fuel costs. He said: “With the current situation on fuel we are fortunate that we have aircraft that are more fuel-efficient – the main one we use is the Bombardier Q400, which flies as fast as a jet but for half the price of a Boeing 73 – so we are sheltered from the fuel crisis. The underlying message to business travellers is that it’s not time to be pulling back on business travel. It’s time to travel smarter.”
In other news, Flybe recently announced it had renewed its contract with Avis for another three years and, to celebrate the continued partnership, Avis is offering Flybe customers the chance to rent one of 500 cars for £1 per day (including mandatory insurance).
The promotion is valid from now until July 31 at participating locations across the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Ireland.
For more information see flybe.com.
Report by Felicity Cousins