Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, says
it has invested £2 million over the last year to attract “smart” business
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