vc10man

Sad News......FlyBe Up For Sale

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Uh oh, that's big mistake by the (several) people who left my company recently to go and work for Airline Services as the ramp agents for FlyBe at Manchester.

Edited by Chock

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It's a real shame but not completely unexpected, Flybe have been struggling on and off for years. At least they're not in administration or imminently collapsing, although I expect one of the bigger LCCs will buy them and then really trim things down.

Edited by ckyliu

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Sad news. but this has been the case of commercial aviation companies for a long time. They need to reinvent themselves quite often, otherwise this happens and will continue to happen.

Cheers, Ed

 

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Trouble is, passengers are so fickle. I work in a travel agency and I have given up how many times customers come looking for 'cheep flights'. When quoted cheaper flights that does not go direct or involves a stop-over of a few hours, they baulk. Instead, stupidly, they want the faster flights to their varied destination, but a lower prices. Not going to happen.

Have to then explain to them that airlines are not in the business to cater for their whims. So, hardly comes as a surprise that fickle passengers want easyJet/Ryan.....so operators like FlyBe suffer.

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Bad decision by previous management to go with the E-Jets which they can't get rid of fast enough. They never suited the operation Flybe was running, instead it was a vanity exercise to move away from turboprops which can't seem to shake the misconception in the public's eye of being old, noisy and slow.

I don't see the airline being bought out by any of the European 'big boys' (EU3 of IAG, AFKLM or DLH groups or easy and Ryanair), why take on a loss-making enterprise with very little brand recognition. Heck, the fact that they are still referred to as "Fly-maybe" by many frequent flyers shows how little goodwill exists to purchase.
The big LCCs have no need of regional operations, if the route doesn't work with an A320/A321 or a B738, they're not interested.
Better to allow Flybe to fold and for the EU3 to put their own aircraft on only a handful of the most profitable routes that can cope with A319-sized aeroplanes, or get their regional subsidiaries to jump in on 'regional trunk routes', i.e. large regional cities connecting to the respective EU3 hubs.

The small regional operators (Loganair, Stobart Air, bmir, Eastern, Widerøe, etc.) will fight amongst themselves to pick-up the scraps of the Flybe route network that works for them individually.

Who wants to pay £230 for a trip from CWL to EDI when easyJet can do similar timings from BRS to EDI for just £85?

Edited by F737NG
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1 hour ago, F737NG said:

Bad decision by previous management to go with the E-Jets which they can't get rid of fast enough. They never suited the operation Flybe was running, instead it was a vanity exercise to move away from turboprops which can't seem to shake the misconception in the public's eye of being old, noisy and slow.

I don't see the airline being bought out by any of the European 'big boys' (EU3 of IAG, AFKLM or DLH groups or easy and Ryanair), why take on a loss-making enterprise with very little brand recognition. Heck, the fact that they are still referred to as "Fly-maybe" by many frequent flyers shows how little goodwill exists to purchase.
The big LCCs have no need of regional operations, if the route doesn't work with an A320/A321 or a B738, they're not interested.
Better to allow Flybe to fold and for the EU3 to put their own aircraft on only a handful of the most profitable routes that can cope with A319-sized aeroplanes, or get their regional subsidiaries to jump in on 'regional trunk routes', i.e. large regional cities connecting to the respective EU3 hubs.

The small regional operators (Loganair, Stobart Air, bmir, Eastern, Widerøe, etc.) will fight amongst themselves to pick-up the scraps of the Flybe route network that works for them individually.

Who wants to pay £230 for a trip from CWL to EDI when easyJet can do similar timings from BRS to EDI for just £85?

It's not just the routes, it's the maintenance base FlyBe has for Dash 8s too. It's true that they wasted a lot of money on E-Jets when they quickly discovered their Dash 8s could pretty much fly the short regional FlyBe routes at the same speed as the jets, since the Dash 8 is very speedy, which is why they got rid of their E-Jets very quickly, in some cases swapping them for more Dash 8s too in deals with other airlines. Thus they put a lot of money into handling maintenance for their Dash 8s as well as providing that for other operators, and that part of FlyBe's operation will be one which other Dash 8 operators may well be interested in getting hold of.

The Dash 8 is a very useful aeroplane; it's fast and well suited to quick turnaround short hauls, but, as with the ATR 42/72, it is in no way a luxury experience to fly on one. So the marketing and indeed the product has to be well handled to play on the strengths of using such equipment and this is something FlyBe did not do well. Generally speaking, Ryanair and Easyjet get this aspect right with their product; everyone knows these are unashamedly 'pile it high and sell it cheap' operations, and customers set their expectation levels accordingly because of that. And it's what FlyBe should have done too; turning their budget operation status into a virtue rather than something to try and hide.

Edited by Chock
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2 hours ago, vc10man said:

Trouble is, passengers are so fickle. I work in a travel agency and I have given up how many times customers come looking for 'cheep flights'. When quoted cheaper flights that does not go direct or involves a stop-over of a few hours, they baulk. Instead, stupidly, they want the faster flights to their varied destination, but a lower prices. Not going to happen.

Have to then explain to them that airlines are not in the business to cater for their whims. So, hardly comes as a surprise that fickle passengers want easyJet/Ryan.....so operators like FlyBe suffer.

I was the opposite when I flew to Europe last year.  Although there were cheaper flights than British Airways, the fact that they have two daily non stops out of Phoenix and on return from London to Phoenix was a big factor in my decision to fly them.  I do not like layovers on International routes, even if on the same airline, having had my luggage delayed arriving in Europe and Venezuela twice.  Even happened to me on a domestic route on a puddle jumper, they left my carry on with important LAN testing equipment on the tarmac, causing a day's delay with my client, since I was lead on that implementation.  In all three instances I was reunited with my luggage the next day but I learned my lesson to be careful who I booked with and if I had a layover, to allow for at least 3 or 4 hours at my transfer airport for things like weather and traffic delays, or sometimes equipment delays like the time I flew out of Bozeman and had an engine blow on startup for my transfer in Salt Lake City.  The only cheap airline I will fly is Southwest due to their numerous non-stops out of Phoenix but only if I am traveling alone or just with one family member, like my daughter or ex wife.

Europe has many discount airlines, flew on British Caledonian once from Gatwick to Amsterdam on a BAC-111.  Miss that airline and their livery.  The US has fewer discount airlines, deregulation did almost all of them in, so air fares are up there but discounts can be had if you plan ahead.  Asia is also getting many discount airlines, some of which have proven less safe.  Same holds true for Africa.  Some discount airlines, like Southwest, have a strong safety record, others do not.  I would consider that a factor in choosing one or not.  Same holds true for puddle jumper feeder airlines in the US.  I had a near miss flying into Pellston Michigan once when we ran low on fuel due to fog at the destination and the pilot kept trying to land rather than divert back to our previous stop which was clear.  There can be such pressure sometimes to stay on schedule.  My mortified colleague waiting to pick me up at Pellston heard our three attempts and saw us finally come in just above the treetops, he was certain we were going to go down.  So was a pilot dead heading on our flight, he got out and kissed the ground to us astonished passengers at the end of the flight.  Never saw anything like it, his action said it all as us trembling passengers left the aircraft for the terminal on that foggy night.

John

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On 11/14/2018 at 2:54 PM, F737NG said:

Bad decision by previous management to go with the E-Jets which they can't get rid of fast enough. They never suited the operation Flybe was running, instead it was a vanity exercise to move away from turboprops which can't seem to shake the misconception in the public's eye of being old, noisy and slow.

I don't see the airline being bought out by any of the European 'big boys' (EU3 of IAG, AFKLM or DLH groups or easy and Ryanair), why take on a loss-making enterprise with very little brand recognition. Heck, the fact that they are still referred to as "Fly-maybe" by many frequent flyers shows how little goodwill exists to purchase.
The big LCCs have no need of regional operations, if the route doesn't work with an A320/A321 or a B738, they're not interested.
Better to allow Flybe to fold and for the EU3 to put their own aircraft on only a handful of the most profitable routes that can cope with A319-sized aeroplanes, or get their regional subsidiaries to jump in on 'regional trunk routes', i.e. large regional cities connecting to the respective EU3 hubs.

The small regional operators (Loganair, Stobart Air, bmir, Eastern, Widerøe, etc.) will fight amongst themselves to pick-up the scraps of the Flybe route network that works for them individually.

Who wants to pay £230 for a trip from CWL to EDI when easyJet can do similar timings from BRS to EDI for just £85?

I think the best chance of retaining a reasonable amount of their existing network would be for FlyBe to be taken over by Stobart who have established themselves as a pretty successful regional operator. However much of that success comes from their franchise agreement with Aer Lingus and only a handful of FlyBe’s existing routes (such as CWL, SEN and SOU to DUB) would fit into that franchise. Although they have some other interlining arrangements such as with Emirates in GLA, many of their routes would have to exist on their own merits without the benefits of a feeder arrangement with a larger airline. I suspect that this could lead to quite a few niche FlyBe routes, where load factors must be marginal at best, being culled and unfortunately most of the existing FlyBe routes would not lend themselves to become feeder routes for any of the major airlines . However if Stobart were to take them over they do appear to be expanding their franchising arrangements as I understand that they have recently reached agreement with BA City Flyer to operate some services out of LCY and maybe the arrangement with City Flyer could offer further opportunities for some existing regional FlyBe routes if a takeover by Stobart we’re to happen.

With regard to fares, I have had a few flights this year with FlyBe from CWL to DUB and GLA for under £100 and my daughter flew to BHD for £85 and CDG for £130, so reasonably competitive fares are available from them. Like all airlines however their fares often depend on when you book and what flights you are looking at and can vary enormously! I suspect FlyBe like many airlines adjust their fares depending on how many empty seats are available at the time of your booking and sometimes a late booking will cost considerably more as will certain flights on predictably busy days  such as Friday flights from CWL to DUB which can often cost quite a bit more. Nevertheless their fares from CWL to DUB are nothing like the £400 or more commonly charged by BA Regional when they operated their  Jetstream 41s on the route in the 90s!

However all doesn’t seem to be doom and gloom for FlyBe as their recently released operating figures suggest they are doing something right and addressing some of the operating issues within the airline as their operating losses have decreased from £48m in 2017 to £9m this year. So it would be nice to think that at least the majority of existing FlyBe routes might still have a viable future. This is an airline with a great history and it would be a shame to see it disappear.

Bill

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Just talks, but an interesting development:
Virgin Atlantic in surprise bid to take-off with Flybe

I understand the rationale, VS use the carcass of Flybe for feed into LHR and possibly MAN.
My concern for everyone involved is that we've seen how this will likely pan out with Virgin Little Red...

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On 11/23/2018 at 5:59 AM, F737NG said:

Just talks, but an interesting development:
Virgin Atlantic in surprise bid to take-off with Flybe

I understand the rationale, VS use the carcass of Flybe for feed into LHR and possibly MAN.
My concern for everyone involved is that we've seen how this will likely pan out with Virgin Little Red...

When the dust settles there will still be flights to destinations in Europe.  In Europe rail competes with air more than it does in the US, it is all about getting in and out of the United Kingdom where everyone wants to go, you know, to see platform nine and three quarters, Harry Potter, I was not far from there last year but did not go there since the filming actually took place elsewhere.  Last year I almost got stuck in the United Kingdom because when I entered the taxi to go back to Heathrow I asked to go to Diagon Alley but I entered the taxi diagonally. Hmm Hmmm.  In the videos forum you can see the landing I made in Phoenix as my British Airways 747-400 broom got me out of the United Kingdom, away from the dragons there, because they still have training up to do.  OMG  What the heck am I talking about, just trying to keep the thread alive and discourse going....  😉

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22 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

When the dust settles there will still be flights to destinations in Europe.  In Europe rail competes with air more than it does in the US, it is all about getting in and out of the United Kingdom

The issue if FlyBe goes under is that they are a major operator of flights from many of the smaller U.K. regional airports. For example from my nearest airport, Cardiff, they operate to about 20 UK and European destinations. However the FlyBe operation from CWL is subsidised by a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government and whether many of these routes would be viable without this is debatable. 

Prior to FlyBe there were only a handful of scheduled flights from Cardiff and the only consistently successful route to the European mainland was the thrice daily flight by KLM to Amsterdam. I have flown KLM to many European cities and enjoy using them as AMS is a very pleasant airport for transfers but it is great to have the option of direct flights to some cities with FlyBe. 

The latest I read is that there is now a bidding war between Virgin Atlantic and Willie Walsh of IAG for FlyBe. Neither of these options fill me with confidence in terms of the future survival of most of FlyBe’s current network as Virgin, although IMHO superior to BA in terms of the quality of their long haul product, has a poor record with short haul operations and BA in the past has divested itself fairly quickly of various regional airlines that it has taken over. With its long history dating back almost 50 years to Intra Jersey and it’s DC-3s it would be sad to see FlyBe disappear but I fear this might just be the end of another famous name.

Bill

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3 hours ago, scianoir said:

The issue if FlyBe goes under is that they are a major operator of flights from many of the smaller U.K. regional airports. For example from my nearest airport, Cardiff, they operate to about 20 UK and European destinations. However the FlyBe operation from CWL is subsidised by a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government and whether many of these routes would be viable without this is debatable. 

Prior to FlyBe there were only a handful of scheduled flights from Cardiff and the only consistently successful route to the European mainland was the thrice daily flight by KLM to Amsterdam. I have flown KLM to many European cities and enjoy using them as AMS is a very pleasant airport for transfers but it is great to have the option of direct flights to some cities with FlyBe. 

The latest I read is that there is now a bidding war between Virgin Atlantic and Willie Walsh of IAG for FlyBe. Neither of these options fill me with confidence in terms of the future survival of most of FlyBe’s current network as Virgin, although IMHO superior to BA in terms of the quality of their long haul product, has a poor record with short haul operations and BA in the past has divested itself fairly quickly of various regional airlines that it has taken over. With its long history dating back almost 50 years to Intra Jersey and it’s DC-3s it would be sad to see FlyBe disappear but I fear this might just be the end of another famous name.

Bill

Yes, we see the same thing in the States, many regional airlines have subsidized help into the smaller locations which would otherwise have no service at all.  I have flown flights into those locations and often they are two thirds to a half empty, to the point where some pax have been asked to change seats to redistribute weight in the aircraft.  These routes are usually only viable with tprops like the Dash or small CRJ's like the CRJ 200 (which I hate because of its tight seats and low windows compared to the 7xx/9xx).  In the UK there are many smaller islands that need service with ferries being the only alternative.  My 1984 tour to Europe out of London was made possible by taking the smaller British Caledonian BAC-111 from Gatwick to Amsterdam, another airline that competition sadly ate up a long time ago, with good service.  In the US I miss PSA and Aircal, great regional airlines (with cool liveries) that were taken by US Airways and American respectively.  Airfares I my oft traveled SFO-Reno and SFO-Santa Ana route increased immediately by a third or twice as much.  Flew from SFO to Reno on PSA for $39.00 in 1983 then it doubled to $80 when USAirways and American took over the SFO-Reno route (one way).  Sure one can still get deals if one plans way ahead, but rare do we know our plans so far in advance.

I still remember after the stock market crash I flew roundtrip from SFO to Frankfurt and back on American for $444.00, $222 each way, which per mile was the cheapest transportation I ever paid for.  I met Bill Gates in 1987 the day before the stock market crash and I remarked to my family that I met a man who lost a quarter of his one billion worth at that time overnight.  But I new he could sweat it, he had a cool, unflappable temperament during the few minutes I had a chance to speak with him, when he checked into and out of my resort the next day on his way to who knows where, he was driving himself, too.

John

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