BA CityFlyer adds 11 routes from Southampton – strong performance likely

BA CityFlyer adds 11 routes from Southampton – strong performance likely

Of flybe’s 11 most profitable unserved international routes, five markets were from Southampton driven by the sun or second homeowners – with BA CityFlyer to begin four of them. Only Alicante missing; will that happen too?

BA CityFlyer is to begin 11 routes from Southampton, with 10 international and one domestic. 

Combined, the carrier’s weekly frequencies will total just 17 each way, with almost all operating only on weekends. 

The lack of direct and indirect competition is notable.  Only one route – Edinburgh – will have direct competition when BA CityFlyer begins, but this isn’t important. 

It’s not really about Edinburgh nor Berlin for that matter.  It is about what they enable: flying to/from Southampton without a ‘proper’, permanent base.  Having started in London City, aircraft position into Southampton from Edinburgh and Berlin late Friday evening. After weekend summer leisure flying, they depart on Sundays back to Edinburgh/Berlin before returning to London City and resuming their normal duties.

In September, we showed that 78% of flybe’s international routes were still unserved – and how Southampton was by far the most hit.

Yet, BA CityFlyer’s announcement isn’t really about backfilling flybe, with just six of these 11 operated by flybe in the same week in 2019.  Excluding Edinburgh, BA CityFlyer will have half the frequencies of flybe.

Instead, it is highly reminiscent of BA CityFlyer’s holiday flights from regional UK airports – Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Stansted – that operated between 2016 and 2019 (depending on the airport).  They were in part to avoid weekend downtime at London City.

BA CityFlyer’s route summary 

Southampton to… Start date Weekly frequency Direct competition (WF): in week BA CityFlyer begins unless stated Indirect competition (WF): in week BA CityFlyer begins unless stated Last served since 2010 – airline: year (WF if same week as BA CityFlyer will operate)
Bergerac 15 May 3 None None flybe: 2019 (7)
Berlin 2 May 1 None None None
Edinburgh 16 May 1 Loganair (25) None flybe: 2019 (27)
Faro 1 May 1 None Ryanair: Bournemouth (4) flybe: 2019 (3)
Florence 1 May 2 None None None
Ibiza 2 May 2 None None Volotea: 2017
Limoges 15 May 1 None None flybe: 2019 (2)
Malaga 1 May 2 None Ryanair: Bournemouth (6) flybe: 2019 (4)
Mykonos 15 May 1 None None None
Nice 15 May 1 None None flybe: 2014
Palma 1 May 2 None; TUI from 25 May (2) Ryanair: Bournemouth (6); TUI: Bournemouth (4) flybe: 2019 (2)
Note: some routes are available in different frequencies in either direction. This may indicate positioning or that new routes will be announced, so treat as indicative and likely to change. Source: airline websites and OAG Schedules Analyser.

BA CityFlyer will operate four of flybe’s five most profitable sun/French routes

We recently looked at flybe’s top-15 most profitable international routes in 2019, of which 11 were still unserved.

Of these 11, five markets were from Southampton driven by the sun or second homeowners – with BA CityFlyer to begin four of them.  Alicante is the missing one, which may materialise later.

Bergerac was estimated to have been flybe’s most profitable international route – that remained unserved – with an estimated £1.1 million profit and profit per seat of £27 (per passenger: £35).  

The performance of Bergerac is perhaps demonstrated by it having the most weekly flights of all of BA CityFlyer’s new Southampton routes.  Significantly, this also nicely shows how historic data is still of crucial importance despite coronavirus.

Using RDC Aviation’s Apex, we showed that flybe achieved an approximate 121% fare premium from Southampton versus Ryanair from Bournemouth.

Most of BA CityFlyer’s destinations from Southampton are also operated from London City.  We’ve used Apex to look at fares – across carriers/routes –  from both airports in S19.   

With only a small decrease in fares at Southampton and lower airport charges, together with normally shorter sector lengths, it is expected that BA CityFlyer should be able to match or perhaps even surpass performance at City. 

Indeed, at the time of writing, its cheapest return from Southampton to Bergerac – 675km away – in May will cost £281.89 excluding a checked bag.

BA CityFlyer adds 11 routes from Southampton – strong performance likely

Source: RDC Aviation.


RDC provides world-leading aviation data through its online apps, data services and APIs. Its Apex platform delivers airline route performance data (fares, profit, schedules, costs, CO2) while AirportCharges has detailed tariff data for over 3,000 airports as well as global en-route navigation fees and government taxes. Over 250 companies subscribe to RDC’s services; visit their website, www.rdcaviation.com, to find more information and contact details.


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