Flybe rebrand to Virgin Connect

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by devonexpress, 12 Jan 2020.

  1. 158756

    158756 Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    12 Aug 2014
    I don't know when either of those last ran, or if it was Flybe that did it, but Newquay doesn't have regular flights to either Stansted or Newcastle right now.

    If a route can fill a regular flight by Flybe that doesn't mean it will be picked up by any other airline - Easyjet might offer a decent number of domestic flights, but regular flights between regional airports are for the most part not their business and they've got at least 150 seats to fill on each plane, Loganair I doubt are capable of expanding to take any notable number of Flybe's passengers. In the short term though there aren't likely to be takers for many, or any, routes, regardless of how busy they are, because other airlines have already sold tickets on every plane they have to go somewhere else this summer. Unlike a Thomas Cook holiday destination temporarily disappearing, that's a big inconvenience (and political headache for the government) particularly for the islands, Northern Ireland, and the various airports that might not still exist by the time someone wants to fly there.
     
  2. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    Whilst every airline is maxing out the use of their aircraft that still leaves quite a few other aircraft which would be available if Flybe were to fold, that being the very aircraft which Flybe use.

    Yea it may take some time for them to become available, but I'm sure that if there was an administrator brought in that they would be looking to sell the airline as a going concerns (which may result in selling off bits, read routes, of it at a time). Alternatively it may involve selling off anything of value or removing liabilities (getting out of aircraft leases), which could provide others with the option to start using any aircraft which becomes available.

    Yes it may take a bit of time, which may mean that for a month or two that other routes/options have to be used. However, at least in the car if the Channel Islands, there's likely to be government (not necessarily UK Government) assistance to get routes back and running ASAP.

    This would be better to happen now rather than in 5 months time.
     
  3. Crawley Ben

    Crawley Ben Member

    Messages:
    405
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2011
    Location:
    Crawley, West Sussex
    Just heard on the Cornwall based radio station Pirate FM that the Flybe service to Heathrow from Newquay is being scrapped & is being moved back to Gatwick.

    Ben
     
  4. Clip

    Clip On Moderation

    Messages:
    10,580
    Joined:
    28 Jun 2010
    Frees up space for Virgin/Delta at Heathrow then??
    https://www.piratefm.co.uk/news/lat...-to-london-airlink-to-change-back-to-gatwick/

     
    Last edited by a moderator: 16 Jan 2020
  5. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

    Messages:
    9,323
    Joined:
    25 Feb 2010
    Yes, apparently they had been planning it for some time by withdrawing ticket sales but hadn't announced.
     
  6. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,566
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    The government needs a clear decision about the future of FlyBe, it's not like Thomas Cook if FlyBe collapsed then there would be serious problems for the country. It's not good having the airline constantly close to collapse so we need a decision on it's future.
     
  7. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    In which case it sounds like it needs to be broken up into several smaller companies so that if one bit fails that the whole lot doesn't.

    If that doesn't happen then there needs to be a Beeching Plan for regional air routes and maybe even Nationalisation with the long term goal to be managed decline as modal shift moves more and more people away from this out of fashion, and seen as outdated, way to travel.

    Yes there'll be enthusiasts who will dream of its golden age and maybe even some heritage routes will be run by volunteers to cater for the public's desire to experience the travel of their youth.
     
  8. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

    Messages:
    5,350
    Joined:
    19 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow
    When we say regional routes, that's regional for the global airline industry, we're often talking InterCity terms for the UK rail market. Yes you've got some routes like Birmingham to Edinburgh where there are very viable rail/road altnernatives, others like Newquay to Edinburgh where rail would be taking you up to an entire day vs a one hour flight. Then you've got routes that would simply fall out of UK Government jurisdiction, like flights to/from Northern Ireland, Isle of Man & Channel Islands where ferry sailings can be slow and/or impacted by weather. Also not even that environmentally friendly compared to a fuel sipping Bombardier turboprop plane used by Flybe!
     
  9. 158756

    158756 Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    12 Aug 2014
    Which existing UK airline has both the interest and financial capability to get hold of and operate any of Flybe's fleet though? Even with the Newquay-London route, with public sector funding and a number of airlines with major operations already at the London end, there are concerns no one would take the contract if Flybe closed.
     
  10. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    Then there's two options:

    Nationalise it to run those routes which were needed, quite possibly with support from the government's of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

    Increase the subsidy being offered to the point where someone does take the contract.

    For any routes which aren't needed to be operated by air travel then there's the following options:

    - let them fail, if there's a reasonable alternative in the form of rail or other public transport (probably set at a sub 6 hour journey time)

    - offer a subsidy to run the service

    - nationalise it but with a plan to improve public transport to achieve a reasonable journey time by rail, with the routes then cut once those improvements are delivered

    - if commercial viable then others will run them

    It's a shame that HS2 isn't closer to being complete as that would provide better regional links by rail and the number of services which were needed would reduce significantly.
     
  11. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

    Messages:
    2,524
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2018
    Depends if anyone else wants the planes though. If not then a new operator might be able to do everything the same but with much cheaper leases.
    These days there always seems to be some private equity chancers willing to take risks on such things.
     
  12. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,566
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    The problem is with FlyBe a lot of their routes are not profitable and never will be however ending them will cause major problems for local industry.

    Humberside for example it's busiest route is the lucrative KLM route to Amsterdam which is used by passengers to change at Amsterdam to get flights around the world, the second busiest route is to Aberdeen which is used more by people traveling for business in connection with the oil and gas industry. If the KLM route ceased it would have an effect on the airport but not a major effect on the local economy as it's mostly tourist traffic. If the FlyBe flight to Aberdeen route ceased then it would have a major effect on the local economy because of the type of passengers it serves.

    There is no easy answer to it I know the Cardiff to Anglesey flight is subsidised by the Welsh Government at a rate of £136 per passenger which is a lot but the Welsh Government says it's needed, the Cardiff to Anglesey flight is run on a public service obligation franchise. Having FlyBe subsidsed in the long term without a franchise is out of the question however something needs to change.
     
  13. rebmcr

    rebmcr Established Member

    Messages:
    2,973
    Joined:
    15 Nov 2011
    Location:
    Cambridge
    This for a start is patently untrue, which calls into question the rest of your assertions.
     
  14. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,270
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I guess also, like with buses, if someone is prepared to run the route commercially then the PSO would have to cease. So it's not a mechanism to combat cherrypicking by the likes of EasyJet.

    Maybe the answer in something similar to a rail franchise? Government could define a list of routes considered socially necessary, the starting point being those of FlyBe that aren't profitable and for which the equivalent rail journey is longer than say 4 hours. They would then put these out to tender in one or two bundles, to provide say 80 seats each way arriving before 0900 and again departing after 1800 (maybe more on busier routes). Bids would be judged on subsidy and possibly also emissions, and fares would have to be regulated in some way.
     
  15. WatcherZero

    WatcherZero Established Member

    Messages:
    9,323
    Joined:
    25 Feb 2010
    Flybe have come out and said what the deal was, contrary to reports and speculation by rivals it isn't a tax holiday on their full annual APD charge (£106m) but just £10m and ongoing negotiations on a government loan at commercial market rates. In return the owners have had to put in another £30m in cash.
     
  16. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

    Messages:
    46,727
    Joined:
    20 Oct 2014
    Location:
    Up and down the south WCML (mostly)
    That doesn't seem too excessively generous.

    The question is what next. Does part of the deal require them to carry on serving the secondary routes? Or could Virgin pull a load of them anyway leaving what's useful to connect with their long-haul network, thus making a mockery of the whole rescue?
     
  17. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,566
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    I would think in the fine print there would be something about keeping the existing routes as part of the agreement.

    As I say though something has to change with FlyBe and there is no easy answer.
     
  18. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

    Messages:
    5,350
    Joined:
    19 Jun 2010
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Yes you are indeed correct for Northern Ireland and there is a precedent in that the UK DfT does support the current PSO route Derry - London Stansted/Southend however we might expect the DfT to ask the reformed NI Executive in future for a contribution, who knows. Routes towards to the crown dependencies of IOM and the Channel Islands, I'll assert that the UK Government would be unlikely in a position to support. Given the relative lack of alternatives the loss of Flybe would be hard on those places, probably with the exception of Guernsey given that the States of Guernsey own their own airline (Aurigny) - this costs them a relative fortune but obviously they see value in it.

    Equally routes within Wales and Scotland are decided upon and funded by the respective devolved adminstrations. Indeed I think Scotland has the most PSO routes in the UK for Highlands & Islands connectivity.
     
  19. thenorthern

    thenorthern Established Member

    Messages:
    3,566
    Joined:
    27 May 2013
    Looking at the list of public service air routes this is indeed correct the only one entirely in England is Newquay to London Heathrow.
     
  20. pc3087L

    pc3087L New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    20 Jan 2020
    Location:
    Horsham
    Please may I correct some of the erroneous information on this thread?
    Firstly, Jet A1 fuel is considerably cheaper than the fuel you or I would put in a motor vehicle at the pump as it is tax and duty free. Yes, airlines do not, and never have, pay any tax or duty on their fuel (so arguably Air Passenger Duty is a tool, albeit a rather blunt one, of compensating for that). The current price of Jet A1 fuel is of the order of US$1000 per tonne, at a specific gravity of 0.800 that works out at 1,250 litres, or US$0.80 per litre (61.5p today).
    Secondly the history of Manx and FlyBe and BA. Manx took on a franchise deal in 1994 with BA as they expanded for all flights that did not go to or from the Isle of Man. These flights were branded British Airways Express, keeping the Manx brand for the Isle of Man. This gave them considerable marketing exposure which Michael Bishop (as the ultimate owner of Manx through the Airlines of Britain group) was only too happy with, as this kept the cash rolling in whilst he could play the plucky underdog with Midland at LHR up against the big bad BA. Manx had a considerable fleet of ATP aircraft of their own and did not wet lease any aircraft from BA. The Jetstream aircraft (J41) came later as the airline expanded post the franchise deal, followed in about 1997 by EMB145 aircraft. They rechristened themselves as British Regional (BRA) as this made more sense than the name Manx - by now the IoM operation was relatively small part, and BA handed over some routes (e.g. the GLA to Highlands and Islands services) which Manx served with a mixture of ATP and ex Logan Air Shorts 360 aircraft. At this point the airline was profitable, just. In 1999 BA bought BRA for (of the top of my head ) about £75 million, largely because Manx had 3 slot pairs a day at LHR, used for an IOM LHR service. Surprise surprise, within 6 months the IOM route had moved to LGW, and BA had 3 slot pairs a day at LHR for more lucrative flying (so much for regional connectivity). Fast forward a few years to about 2008 and, yes, BA could not run regional routes so spun it all off to FlyBe for a pittance and a 25% stake in FlyBe (long since disposed of), keeping the recently started LCY to Scotland routes served with RJ100 aircraft inherited from (the original) Cityflyer at LGW, another BA acquisition in around 1999-2000. Finally Midland, or BMI as it was known by then, was in trouble by 2012 and was rescued/bought (delete as per your chosen version of history) out by BA (again, it's all about the slots at LHR) and is now fully integrated into BAs LHR and LGW operations whilst Mr Bishop disappeared into the sunset counting his millions, his former employees nursing their decimated pensions.
    As for FlyBe, one big mistake was an over ambitious expansion plan with EMB190 aircraft on expensive leases, a plan quickly reined back. The Dash 8 Q400 is undoubtedly one of the most fuel efficient airliners out there and ideally suited for short regional routes, but the airline is struggling from its past mistakes.
     
  21. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

    Messages:
    6,705
    Joined:
    6 Jul 2012
    Looking around the emissions from a dash 8-400 appears to be in the 75g/km to 85g/km.

    https://www.google.com/url?q=https:...FjAVegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw1OG6WAMX-7oKQ8ub9Zmg0P

    This compares with the average across all passenger trains of 36.6g/km.

    https://www.google.com/url?q=https:...FjAJegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw22D980zyGQT3tW3IX1Cgqc

    That puts rail at least half of that of those aircraft with the emissions taking by around 10% last year due to the ongoing greening of the power generation grid.

    However it should also be noted that the reduction in diesel use (presumably with more bimodal trains) will have also contributed to this figure.

    What is quite interesting is that even diesel only trains appear to be better at 68g/km

    https://www.google.com/url?q=https:...FjANegQIBxAB&usg=AOvVaw0RuqOrMX_L_u_V9xndetL8

    However that is data from 2006/07 so there's likely to be some fuel efficiency and it's likely that passenger loading may have increased a bit since then also, but those aren't certain.
     
  22. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

    Messages:
    10,321
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Who would backfill? Loganair don't have the planes and EasyJet can't run such an intensive service with a 150-seat A319 to fill. Who else? BA haven't given a toss about regional domestic flights for a very long time.

    That flight is summer only, and not daily, so those figures really aren't bad.

    That's not what has happened on the Isle of Man. EasyJet only run Friday/Sunday rotations to Belfast and Bristol, with the consequence of making the daily Eastern Airways flights uneconomical (also seeing the end of the Newcastle flight). That's a huge net loss.

    EasyJet are currently only running three rotations a week to Liverpool, though it does go daily in February. There's nothing to suggest EasyJet could or would run more.
     
  23. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

    Messages:
    17,270
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2013
    Location:
    Nottingham
    If the routes are fundamentally viable as per the comment you quoted, then Loganair could get more planes (there would be some suitable ones available from a bankrupt Flybe…), or they could be picked up by another regional airline such as Stobart or even a new startup.
     
  24. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

    Messages:
    10,321
    Joined:
    12 Sep 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    Stobart own Flybe and some Flybe routes to the IoM are now operated by Stobart using ATR72s. Apparently the ATR72s are cheaper to operate.

    So it'll be interesting to see what happens.

    As for Heathrow, I thought the slot pairs Flybe are using were restricted to domestic travel? Virgin found they couldn't use the Little Red slot pairs for anything else IIRC.
     
  25. Meerkat

    Meerkat Established Member

    Messages:
    2,524
    Joined:
    14 Jul 2018
    Private Equity backed management team cherry pick the routes, do a deal with the lessors of the current Flybe aircraft they need, and dump all the lumpy costs they don’t think they need (engineering and training functions maybe, anything they can outsource)
     
  26. Joe Paxton

    Joe Paxton Established Member

    Messages:
    1,850
    Joined:
    12 Jan 2017
    And those with an interest in or connections to the world of private equity aren't such a rare breed on Mann.
     

Share This Page