British airline Flybe is closing bases in Cardiff and Doncaster. It will also give up its fleet of 17 Embraer aircraft to keep only Bombardier Q400s.
On April 2 and 3, 2019, Flybe was forced to cancel several flights from Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, London-Southend, and Southampton airports, among others. The airline blamed the cancellations on “a combination of factors including seasonality, pilots’ end of leave year, Easter holidays, base restructuring and the shortage of pilots across the industry“.
While Cardiff and Doncaster bases will be closed, Exeter and Norwich will see their operations reduced: from October 26, 2019, all Embraer aircraft including eleven E175 and six E195 will be returned to lessors. An ongoing order for four E175 has been canceled.
The airline operates 54 Bombardier Q400 and 8 ATR 72 turboprops.
“Our fleet reduction has always been core to improving our profitability,” said Flybe CEO, Christine Ourmières-Widener, adding that they would “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”.
On February 21, 2019, a British consortium called Connect Airways, formed by Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Aviation, took over Flybe for £2,2 million ($2.8 million)