Loganair adds Glasgow to Belfast City; what next for City’s remaining unserved ‘core three’?

Loganair to add Glasgow to Belfast City; what next for City's remaining unserved ‘core three’

Loganair has announced Glasgow to Belfast City, which fills an important link in Belfast City’s network.

The 167-kilometre service will take off on 4 September and will use 49-seat Embraer 145s.

This airport-pair was previously operated by flybe, so it is the latest to be replaced by another operator.  Belfast City was flybe’s third-largest airport last year, at which the carrier had a 68% share of seats and 80% share of frequencies.

Loganair will face heavy competition from easyJet, which has more than twice as many weekly frequencies to/from Belfast International and up to five-daily services.

However, Loganair will only have 49 seats to fill per sector and serve Belfast City, just ten minutes from central Belfast.  Its timings will enable easy day trips, Monday to Thursday, from Glasgow to Belfast, although not really in the other direction.

Summary of the route

Routing Start date Weekly frequency Days and timings Direct competition
(weekly frequency)*
Indirect competition (weekly frequency)*
Glasgow – Belfast City 4 September 13 From Glasgow first; to Glasgow in brackets Mon-Thu:

0715-0800 (0830-0915)
1600-1645 (1715-1800)
 
Fri:
1315-1400 (1430-1515)
1600-1645 (1715-1800)
 
Sat:
0715-0800 (0830-0915)
 
Sun:
1245-1330 (1405-1450)
1830-1915 (1950-2035)

None easyJet from Belfast International (28)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. *Based on the week Loganair begins.

Glasgow: a significant and important market from Belfast

Belfast City had almost 185,000 seats to/from Glasgow last year, according to OAG’s schedule data. 

With the UK’s CAA showing 142,000 passengers, flybe achieved an average seat load factor of 77%, more or less the airline’s system average.

In the week commencing 22 June 2019, so a year ago to the day, flybe had 27 weekly frequencies between the two.  easyJet from Belfast International, meanwhile, had 17 weekly. 

At city-pair level, Belfast – Glasgow is a significant and important market, with 556,000 seats – and 436,000 passengers – last year.  However, seats were up just 1% over 2010 figures. 

The remaining unserved ‘core three’ from Belfast City

Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham had almost 1.1 million seats to/from Belfast City last year, equivalent to 34% of Belfast City’s seat capacity.

With Glasgow to be served, attention is now drawn to Belfast City’s remaining unserved ‘core three’.  Manchester had 361,000 seats, Birmingham 337,000, and Edinburgh 202,000. Clearly, all are good-sized markets with short sector lengths (between 217 and 364 kilometres). 

Loganair adds Glasgow to Belfast City; what next for City's remaining unserved ‘core three’ markets?

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Edinburgh for Loganair, Manchester and Birmingham for Stobart Air?

Loganair’s CEO, Jonathan Hinkles, told anna.aero in its recent fast-paced webinar that “we’ve got a very open and constructive dialogue on-going with Belfast City about other gaps in their route network that need to be filled… watch this space.” Glasgow resulted. 

Will Edinburgh materialise too for Scotland’s Airline, joining Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Dundee from Belfast City?

Manchester and Birmingham, meanwhile, are likely to require a base at either Belfast City or Manchester/Birmingham.  It will be very interesting to see who takes them up.  Stobart Air, with its ATRs, looks possible.


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