Scotland’s own LCC Flyglobespan stops flying; over 110 routes tried since April 2003

Image: Glasgow’s Evening Times front page
Glasgow’s Evening Times front page breaks the bad news (although we note there was some seasonal cheer – Glaswegians will get free buses home from the pubs on New Year’s Eve).

Sadly, Scotland’s largest home-grown airline, Flyglobespan, went into administration this week and ceased operating with immediate effect. The airline, founded in 2002 as part of the Globespan Group, began scheduled operations in April 2003. Since then, it has operated some 115 different scheduled routes, many of them seasonal, mostly from airports in Scotland. looked at Flyglobespan’s route network back in March 2008.This winter, its network was down to just 20 routes; nine from Edinburgh, 10 from Glasgow and one from Aberdeen. According to UK CAA aircraft utilisation data for the third quarter of 2009, the airline operated a total of 11 aircraft: two 737-700s, five 737-800s and four 767-300s. This winter, two of the 767s had been leased out to Nasair in Saudi Arabia to provide extra capacity for Hajj flights at the end of November.

Two million passengers carried in 2007

Flyglobespan’s scheduled traffic peaked in 2007 when the airline carried just over two million passengers and in August of that year almost 270,000 passengers were transported on a fleet of 20 aircraft, which at that time comprised 13 737s, three 757s and four 767s.

Chart: Flyglobespan scheduled traffic - Monthly passengers 2005-2009
Source: UK CAA

After rapid growth in 2007, capacity was cut with the start of the winter 2007 season. Scheduled passenger numbers fell 22% in 2008 and in the first nine months of 2009 demand was down a further 25%, though still above the levels achieved in 2005.

Various network strategies explored

Apart from the core business of scheduled services to Mediterranean leisure destinations from Edinburgh and Glasgow, Flyglobespan also tried a number of other network strategies including:

  • Taking on easyJet on the London Stansted to Edinburgh and Glasgow routes
  • Operating daily Glasgow – Amsterdam flights after easyJet withdrew from the route
  • Serving Athens, Chambery, Geneva, Larnaca and Tenerife from London Stansted
  • Long-haul services to New York JFK (from Knock and Liverpool), Orlando Sanford (from Belfast and Glasgow) and Toronto Hamilton (from a dozen UK airports and Dublin)
  • Establishing a base at Aberdeen in April 2007
  • Establishing a base at Durham Tees Valley in April 2007
  • Serving Calgary and Vancouver from London Gatwick
  • Serving Calgary, Cape Town, Toronto Pearson and Vancouver from Manchester
  • Serving Boston from Knock

With the exception of the Aberdeen base and a few long-haul flights all of these strategies had been abandoned by this summer.

Ryanair to the rescue

Of Flyglobespan’s 20 routes this winter, five were in direct competition with Ryanair from Edinburgh, while a further seven were in indirect competition with Ryanair’s Glasgow Prestwick services. Eleven of the 12 Ryanair routes have been started in the last 15 months with seven starting since the start of the winter season at the end of October.

At Edinburgh Ryanair start date At Glasgow PIK Ryanair start date
Alicante 5 March 2008 Alicante 25 October 2009
Gran Canaria 4 November 2009 Faro 29 October 2008
Lanzarote 30 October 2009 Gran Canaria 27 October 2009
Malaga 6 November 2008 Lanzarote 29 October 2009
Tenerife 3 November 2009 Malaga 27 October 2008
    Palma 31 October 2009
    Tenerife 27 October 2008
Source: database

Ryanair has launched £59-89 ‘rescue fares’ to help stranded Flyglobespan passengers and to help passengers with bookings until 15 January to travel.

Flybe has also offered to bring back passengers stranded in Alicante, Chambery, Geneva or Malaga but this would involve travelling via either Exeter or Southampton. The one-off fare for this would be £59.99 including all taxes and charges.

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  1. Charlie says:

    Scottish Airlines are never going to be a success for as long as they get into the daft habit of flying to/from every airport in Scotland. When a country has a population of just 5 million people, it’s never going to work having four bases in that country.

    “Scottish” Airlines need to either A) broaden their horizons with bases outside Scotland or B) operate from one Scottish Airport, Glasgow International being the only logical choice and operate a small hub similar to that of Aer Lingus and Icelandair.

    Until Scottish Airlines do this, they will continue to fail.

  2. Arthur Dent says:

    One of the Flyglobespan 767s is currently grounded at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The airline used to operate troop movement flights for the Ministry of Defence.

  3. Richard Ziskind says:

    It is always sad to see an airline company go out of business. I always think of all the employees and thier familys during a time like this and hope they all find positions again in our industry.

    The most important part of our aviation family are our Employees and our Customers.

Comments are closed