Flybe to open Bournemouth and Aberdeen bases

12 Nov 2014 by GrahamSmith

Flybe is to open new UK bases at Bournemouth and Aberdeen in March.

The regional airline announced the expansion plans as it revealed losses of £15.4 million for the six months to the end of September — this compares to a profit of £13.6 million for the same period in 2013.

Flybe will base two Q400 aircraft at Bournemouth next spring offering "both business and leisure orientated" routes.

It will initially operate flights to Glasgow from March while further routes to Amsterdam, Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Jersey, Dublin, Deauville, Toulon and Biarritz will be launched in May.

The company will also "re-establish" an aircraft and crew base at Aberdeen with four Q400 aircraft based at the airport from spring 2015.

In a further move, Flybe will begin "limited operations" at Stansted from March, although these flights to Newcastle, the Isle of Man and Newquay will primarily focus on attracting leisure passengers from the UK regions by offering "cost-effective access into London".

Flybe CEO Saad Hammad said the airline would adopt a "measured approach" to growth for the next half-year following the start of its routes from London City last month.

He said: "While there are still a number of challenges ahead, Flybe enters the winter season with solid momentum in its core UK business."

Flybe said that its UK business had "significantly improved" its performance in the six-month period, but had been dragged into the red by losses associated with its Flybe Finland joint venture with Finnair, and has also set aside £6 million to cover potential claims by customers over flight delays under European regulation EU 261.

Hammad said Flybe was withdrawing from the Flybe Finland business by selling its 60 per cent stake to Finnair for €1.

Flybe UK's business made an adjusted pre-tax profit of £13.7 million for the half-year, an increase of £2 million on the same period last year. Load factors rose 8.6 points to 77.2 per cent while passenger revenue per seat increased by 8.7 per cent to £54.75.

Rob Gill

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