78% of flybe’s international routes still unserved; Southampton worst hit
There has been a lot of focus on flybe’s domestic market and which routes have been taken up by others.
After all, 70% of flybe’s 164,194 two-way frequencies last year were deployed domestically, OAG data highlights.
And given flybe’s network, aircraft, and focus on convenience, it was the top player by frequencies with more than easyJet and British Airways combined. (It was second by seats.)
Last week (24 September), both Eastern Airways and Loganair announced Manchester – Newquay on the same day, with this one of the last unserved ‘bigger’ former flybe routes within the UK.
Along with Blue Islands and Eastern Airways taking over routes, Aer Lingus Regional has recently taken up six from Belfast City that had over one million passengers between them, and Loganair has started or planned many, including Isle of Man – Manchester.
However, there has been far less discussion about flybe’s international routes, which numbered 77 in September 2019.
78% of flybe’s international routes unserved, a drop of 342 weekly frequencies each way
flybe’s 77 international routes in September 2019 involved 12 UK/Channel Island airports and 35 destinations across mainland Europe and Ireland.
The carrier had 478 one-way frequencies on its international services in a typical week in September.
In September 2020, however, other airlines have just 136 one-way flights – a drop of 342, equivalent to nearly 50 daily departures.
The reason: only 17 of its 77 routes are served in September 2020. 78% are still unserved.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising given the current environment. More fundamentally, it probably reflects route performance by flybe, the result of its low-capacity aircraft – ATR-72s, Dash-8-400s, and Embraer 175s and 195s – on many of the routes it chose.
However, four more routes will be coming later this year: three because of Wizz Air’s new Doncaster base and the launch of Alicante, Faro, and Malaga, together with both Blue Islands and Eastern Airways starting Southampton – Dublin.
flybe’s 77 international routes: a summary
Most of the following is based on the week starting 25 September, but some are from earlier in the month to include more routes.
|Origin||Destination||flybe’s one-way WF in Sept. 2019||Airline/s (and one-way WF if >1) in Sept. 2020||One-way WF||WF change YOY|
|MAN||CDG||26||Air France (8), easyJet (4)||12||-14|
|BHX||CDG||20||Air France’s Hop||6||-14|
|MAN||AMS||20||KLM (25), easyJet (7)||32||12|
|MAN||MXP||6||easyJet (3), Ryanair (3)||6||0|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and, for this year, airline websites.|
flybe’s thicker routes served
Of the 17 routes that are served in September 2020, it isn’t surprising that seven were in flybe’s top-10. These are ordinarily operated by more than one operator anyway and are generally good-sized markets:
- Birmingham – Amsterdam
- Manchester – Paris CDG
- Southampton – Amsterdam
- Birmingham – CDG
- Manchester – Amsterdam
- Manchester – Düsseldorf
- Birmingham – Düsseldorf
Depressed demand from coronavirus has necessarily meant that the YOY change for most of these is worse than it would otherwise have been.
Southampton – Amsterdam biggest fall YOY
Southampton – Amsterdam had the biggest fall YOY at -21 weekly departures.
This is despite KLM restarting the route last month, albeit on a five-weekly basis (down from the planned daily) versus 26 with flybe.
Southampton – Dublin is currently unserved despite being a core international route for flybe with 20 weekly frequencies. However, as mentioned above, this will change next month when two operators begin it; together they’ll have a 16-weekly offering in early November.
The biggest drops on unserved routes and routes that haven’t been announced are:
- Cardiff – Dublin: -20 one-way weekly frequencies
- Exeter – Paris CDG: -13
- London Southend – Rennes: -12. Rennes is unserved from London.
- Southampton – CDG: -12
- Cardiff – CDG: -11
- Southend – Groningen: -10. Groningen is unserved from London.
Paris CDG featured three times; in all, four of flybe’s six CDG routes are now unserved.
Southampton worst hit
Looking at eight airports, Southampton is the worst impacted on an absolute change basis, with weekly one-way flights down by 96.
Last September, flybe had 18 international routes from the airport and 101 departures a week, of which nearly six in ten were to Amsterdam, CDG, and Dublin.
Half of flybe’s Southampton’s routes were to regional France, such as Avignon, Bergerac (six-weekly), Nantes, Perpignan, and Toulon.
Birmingham, meanwhile, is down by 67 weekly departures from reduced service to Amsterdam and CDG together with the loss of 10 routes: Bastia, Berlin Tegel, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Hannover, Knock, Lyon, Milan Malpensa, Nantes, Stuttgart.
Exeter lost the capitals of Ireland, France, and the Netherlands, together with mainly summer-sun routes.
In all, Cardiff and Exeter lost 37 and 35 weekly departures respectively. But like with Southampton, it is made worse by flybe being so dominant at the airports and having relatively few international departures in the first place.