Flybe problems - did they take rail improvements into account?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by hwl, 14 Jan 2020.

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  1. hwl

    hwl Established Member

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    Simple question as regards Flybe problems and potential futures rescues/bailouts (yet again...)
    Flybe were rescued /bailed out last year with huge investment and a big turnaround plan that apparently isn't working.

    Do forum users think that Flybe/the 3 invertors took rail improvements into account (including ones soon to be delivered that are in the pipeline) when assessing their turnaround plan and as part of the cause of some problems?

    E.g GWR IET introduction (capacity boost) and and December 2019 Timetable change. (some of Flybe's Exeter + Newquay routes) - the pendulum swinging the other way from the Dawlish seawall line closure...

    E.g. Manchester - Scotland improvements (Bolton corridor electrification and 350s/397s) affecting
    Flybe's Manchester - Edinburgh route

    E.g. ECML capacity and frequency improvements and new trains (Flybe's East Midlands Airport - Scotland routes

    E.g. Numerous Scottish rail improvements (electrification, new longer trains) so the overall competitiveness of rail has got better.
     
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  3. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    First question is - by how much has the market share moved from air to rail?

    Flybe's problems are its cost base and financially onerous operations.
     
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2020
  4. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    surely the first question is has the size of the market changed?
     
  5. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    There is not even flights from Glasgow to Manchester now. What happens is flybe give it up then usually Loganair take over but not this time. Despite the TPE issues , trains are cheaper and much more frequent than the plane.

    East Midlands more of a market as it takes more time to get there.
     
  6. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Flybe is in the process of down-sizing to meet the business model required by the new owners (which include Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group).
    Looks like they are not changing quickly enough and the costs have not come down.
    If HMG cut domestic APD it will be the exact reverse of what is happening in Germany, where log-distance rail fares have been cut and their version of APD has been increased to pay for it.
     
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2020
  7. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    Reducing or zeroing domestic apd would be the worst possible fix - anti-environmental and effectively free money to all the other airlines.

    If specific routes need subsidy for social, economic or other reasons then there are existing ways of achieving this
     
  8. d9009alycidon

    d9009alycidon Member

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    There is the possibility that "flight shaming" is gathering momentum. As a business traveller I am being encouraged to consider the most environmentally freindly method of business travel, as if I need encouragement to take the train! I have used Flybe in the past and hated travelling with them, unreliable, unflexible and unfreindly, late afternoon flights were almost guranteed to be late or cancelled due to knock on delays and they were very poor in letting you know accurately how late they were going to be. The only reason I usd them was that East Midlands Airport was convenient for many of my suppliers and the lack of car hire facilities at stations made the alternatives difficult. I now use Manchester Airport and Birmingham International as my rail hubs, nip into the adjoining airport for the hire car. Won't miss them if they fold
     
  9. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    If you compare the rail business now and 12 months ago there's really not a lot of change that would impact a strategic analysis.

    My guess is that Flybe adopted a strategy of macho wishful thinking that ignored the inherent weaknesses in domestic air travel i.e long check in times, poor airport experience, poor punctuality and reliability, flight shaming.
     
  10. class26

    class26 Member

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    Flybe`s problems really go back several years to a previous regime ordering lots of Brazilian small jets just when they were becoming uneconomic to operate. Not only that the contracts were not very clever and so Flybe are straddled with high costs and however full their planes are they are simply uncompetitive with other carriers. They have been locked into these contracts for some time and whenever possible have been disposing of these aircraft. That`s also why, a few years ago they suddenly opened up routes from Cardiff. No one knows the deal they were given but it must have been very attractive and so they found a use for some of these uneconomic jets thanks to the Welsh governments generosity. This deal has ended I believe and suddenly these flights have disappeared as obviously they were simply not economic to sustain without subsidy from WAG

    Their Dash aircraft however are economic if a little unreliable (hence the nickname "Flymaybe".
    They are going to struggle as their main UK routes are Birmingham to Belfast, Glasgow and Edinburgh operating up to 7 or 8 flights a day but as of Easter 2020 Easy Jet will enter these routes with Airbus jets and whilst the Dash 8`s are modern aircraft the general public, when they see props wrongly tend to think they are being asked to board a 60 year old aircraft !
     
  11. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    For me a meeting in Glasgow is about 6 hours door to door by train, about 4 if flying from East Midlands. If the meeting was arranged a couple of weeks beforehand, train the night before plus a hotel and home after the meeting worked out about the same price as the flight (this was for multiple occasions between 2013 and about 2017). The big difference was being able to do about 4 hours work during the train journey versus almost none during the plane journey. Also there was a rail connection at least hourly through the day but only a couple of flights. So although with an Advance I couldn't just return on the next train, I had a better chance of picking a return option that minimized hanging around after the end of the meeting.
    Hire companies seem to be cottoning on to the rail market. Sixt and Europcar have offices near Piccadilly, and when I was searching for hire options recently I noticed most of the big firms offered Nottingham station as a location. I suspect many of these are just offices or someone with a clipboard meeting you, and they bring or take you to a vehicle stored somewhere else - but they appeared to be exempt from airport surcharges!
    I've suggested on another thread that any APD reduction ought to be limited to flights for which the rail alternative is much slower or non-existent, and/or should apply only to turboprop planes as used by FlyBe which have less CO2 per seat (from what I remember of reading the in-flight mag - I can't find an online source).
     
  12. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    To the original question, the discussion that has just happened as an urgent question in the commons (1345 to 1400) leads me to the conclusion that the answer is no! In addition, even the existence of rail alternatives was not obvious (eg Southampton).

    As to the above comment on CO2, the Flybe fleet is certainly not the most environmentally friendly for their domestic routes.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    They are known in many circles as "Flymaybe", and my experience is that that moniker is entirely deserved.

    That said the ex-Birmingham domestics were shockingly unpunctual and unreliable even when BA operated them themselves.
     
  14. kristiang85

    kristiang85 Member

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    The day FlyBe flew me to Birmingham instead of London and put me on a plane replacement bus, dropping me off at an airport at 4.30am on New Year's Eve morning with no public transport available to get to where I was meant to have been the previous evening, was the time I made the decision never to fly them again.

    I think it is their shoddy operation and declining reputation that has let them down rather than the rise of rail travel.

    As far as I can tell, domestic flights by Ryanair, BA and Sleazyjet are still going strong?
     
  15. Alfonso

    Alfonso Member

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    Flybes Q400s are very Carbon friendly as planes go.
    Re flybes problems more generally, getting rid of the expensive jets has helped, but selling tickets for £30 then having to pay £200+ compensation when flights are often severely delayed or cancelled is not a sustainable business model
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    TBH I think flight delay compensation should operate more along the lines of Delay Repay based on the fare (the headline price, not removing taxes etc) than a fixed sum. A rare occasion on which I wholly agree with Michael O'Leary!
     
  17. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

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    I remember flying the Manchester to Southend route when that existed for a short period.

    I paid £15 for the flight and it was maybe a third full. Not exactly economical.

    That said, when I flew with them from Manchester to Düsseldorf last September, it was a pretty full flight.
     
  18. daikilo

    daikilo Established Member

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    It is perhaps relevant to note that whereas various "non-national" airlines fly "domestic" in other European countries (eg EasyJet in France), only Ryanair occasionally flies domestic in the UK. Note that France has their own equivalent to the APD.
     
  19. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Continuation of any such arrangement between the UK and the EU is uncertain after the end of 2020, so no foreign airline going to waste any time and money setting up a UK domestic operation at the moment.
     
  20. sikejsudjek

    sikejsudjek Member

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    Trouble is that if Flybe go bust, there isn't likely to be another airline to take over. Hence the problem for the government - some of the routes (Newquay springs to mind) are poorly served by road and rail. There is likely to be an economic impact of letting them go bust. If you compare the billions thrown at London, surely it makes sense to keep these routes functioning, particularly as Flybe are part way through a take over that may well return them to profitability. I wonder how much it would cost in pounds and CO2 to produce a decent fast rail route to Newquay and the north of Scotland ! - a lot more than a temporary bailout of Flybe I would suggest.
     
  21. Djgr

    Djgr Member

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    BA don't operate many domestic flights as they pretty much flogged them all off to FlyBe. For example it is not possible to fly from Manchester to Gatwick any more, which sounds like a no-brainer useful connectional route.
     
  22. mark-h

    mark-h Member

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    BA gave FlyBe £130 million to take the regional routes. At the time BA Connect (flights not to/from London) was loosing £1 every minute or £10 per passenger per flight.
     
  23. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    You would think that Sweden would be at the heart of flight shaming, but having just returned from Tenerife for a weeks holiday, there were the usual number of Swedes walking along the front of Los Cristianos. Not many volunteering for the Stockholm to Cadiz Rail journey plus ferry to Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
     
  24. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Flight shaming doesn't mean every single Swede has stopped flying full stop!
     
  25. pitdiver

    pitdiver Member

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    If time is an issue then flying has no opposition, For my wife and I to get to Kirkwall takes us approx 23 hours to get to Scrabster. We can get from our house to Kirkwall in approx 7 hours flying from Luton.
     
    Last edited: 15 Jan 2020
  26. Struner

    Struner Member

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    Plenty of people in Orkney have never been on a train. They fly. Maybe they spotted a train from the plane. ;)
    & that’s what I do. Schiphol-Aberdeen-Kirkwall. Even managed to get to Hoy once in just a single day.
    (This is where the Thurso sleeper comes in though ;) )
     
  27. d9009alycidon

    d9009alycidon Member

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    Heard that one before - only at the time it was BMI-Maybe (which also went bust)
     
  28. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    Bit of tongue in cheek,sadly wasted.
     
  29. Bookd

    Bookd Member

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    I can't see why abolishing APD would help Easyjet.
    It might bring more passengers if fares are reduced, but basically the tax is paid by the passenger and collected by the airline.
    Easyjet's immediate problem is that they have collected lots of tax but have used it for their own cash flow and more can't afford to pay it to the govdrnment.if they always have a negative cash flow they will not survive whatever patches are provided.
     
  30. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Think thats not Easyjet!
     
  31. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    Because it would make their flights cheaper to the consumer and relative to alternative means of transport and therefore potentially increase their market share for a flow with competing modes

    Also because it could lead to price increases of the non-APD component of the headline fare which could potentially see both airline and customer benefit
     
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