| © PA

British carrier Flybe made its return to the skies this April and marked the momentous occasion with daily flights from Birmingham to Belfast. 

However, only a couple of months after its triumphant relaunch, Flybe will be reducing some of its late-summer schedules, citing a lack of aircraft available to fulfill its initial plans.

A stumbling block

After relaunching on 13 April, the airline said that it will be gradually adding more destinations from its hub in Birmingham between 28 April and August 25. 

Dave Pflieger shared the kind of destinations the carrier was eyeing up:

“Over the coming weeks and months, our flight schedule will further ramp up as we take delivery of additional aircraft and serve other new destinations from Birmingham, including Amsterdam, Avignon, Brest, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.” 

However, Flybe announced this week plans to cut its summer and autumn schedules due to aircraft shortages. 

Flybe filed for administration in March 2020 and was refunded in September. | © Getty Images

In a letter posted to customers online on 6 July, CEO Pflieger shared that he will be reducing planned schedules from 28 July and October 29 to ensure that the airline can deliver with the number of aircraft available. 

In the rather transparent letter of advance warning to Flybe customers, Pflieger wrote:

“We were planning to increase flights to existing cities and new destinations such as Aberdeen, Inverness, Newcastle, and Southampton. However, the two aircraft leasing companies who were contracted to provide our additional airplanes have now told us that they will be unable to fulfill their commitments until after the summer.”

He continued:

“We were able to find and rent aircraft from two separate airlines in Greece and Spain, but those planes are not enough, and the lack of additional aircraft needed for new flying means we need to adjust our future flight schedule.”

Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger
On 26 October 2021, Pfliger was appointed as Flybe’s new Chief Executive Officer. | © Flybe

Let down

Flybe was reliant on aircraft from lessors to adhere to a jampacked summer and autumn schedule. 

The airline’s current fleet is made up entirely of 4 de Havilland Dash 8-Q400s, so leased aircraft are essential to the carrier’s operations. So regardless of the fact that Flybe was able to lease an Embraer E175 from Marathon Air and an ATR-72 from Madrid-based Swift Air, the two extra aircraft were not enough to meet Flybe’s original plans. 

Flybe’s CEO continued, stating that the carrier will be reducing its planned increase in flying over the period of 28 July until October 29. Pflieger added that the new schedule will be “fully supported” by the aircraft that is available. 

Plans to introduce new flights later in the year will still be going ahead, according to the CEO. 

What services are affected? 

Reportedly, hundreds of flights will be affected. Services from Belfast City Airport to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, and Southampton will all be reduced over the late July to late October period. 

Flights from Belfast City to Aberdeen, Inverness, and Newcastle are to be paused over three months, and frequencies on Birmingham to Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London Heathrow to Leeds Bradford services will reduce. 

Will you be affected by Flybe’s summer cuts? Let us know in the comments below.


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