Thursday, April 4, 2019

News: Flybe take off jets from DSA base

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Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, has announced that it is withdrawing jet operations from Doncaster Sheffield, the regional airport for the Sheffield city region (SCR).

The company is currently being bought by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic having made losses struggling with Air Passenger Duty and uncertainty over Brexit. It has also struggled with a reported £80m debt, mainly from leasing expensive jets.

As part of its strategy to reduce capacity, this week Flybe announced that it would return all of its 118-seat Embraer 195 aircraft to its lessors - a move that would see jet flights from DSA cease with effect from the start of the 2019-20 Winter programme. The base to service its jet services will also close.

It is expected that flights serviced on the smaller Bombardier Q400 aircraft will continue. These turboprop planes are used for the shorter flights such as Newquay, Jersey and Belfast.

Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO at Flybe, said: "Our fleet reduction has always been core to improving our profitability. We are committed to assisting all our affected employees across the impacted Flybe bases. We remain fully committed to Exeter, Cardiff and Doncaster airports and will continue to offer a comprehensive choice of regional and European destinations operated by our 78-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft."

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A spokesperson for DSA, said: "Doncaster Sheffield Airport is forecasting record passenger numbers for the year ahead, over 15% growth. It will be the airports busiest year on record since opening in 2005. With an additional 250,000 seats already on sale and 11 new routes launched in the past year, passenger's numbers will soar to in excess of 1.4m making it one of the fastest growing airports in the UK in recent years.

"Flybe have operated services at various levels from Doncaster Sheffield Airport since 2006. Flybe have recently changed ownership with future plans to restructure including a move away from jet flying to stabilise the business across their network. We are working closely with Flybe, and expect them to continue operating at DSA beyond the current summer and winter 19/20 schedule which will be on sale shortly.

"With the launch of our new long-haul services with TUI to Sanford Florida just weeks away we are extremely optimistic about growth in the year ahead and beyond."

An announcement in 2015 that Flybe would base two Embraer Jet aircraft at DSA was hailed as a "transformational deal" for the airport as it meant that an additional 500,000 seats would be on offer.

Flybe website
DSA website

Images: DSA

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