The purple-toned planes of British regional carrier Flybe are back in the skies. The relaunched carrier took off on its first flight April 13, 2022, from Birmingham (BHX) to Belfast City Airport (BHD).
Flybe collapsed in March 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to restructuring efforts. However, it has now returned with two main bases in Birmingham and Belfast and hopes to take advantage of rebounding post-pandemic travel demand.
The carrier plans to offer up to four flights a day between Birmingham and Belfast and expects to eventually operate a fleet of 32 De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprop aircraft.
The first flight, with aircraft registration G-JECX, operated as flight BEE404. It departed from BHX at 0910 local time (0810 UTC).
Dave Pflieger said: “Today is a big day for everyone at Flybe. After a year of incredibly hard work, we are thrilled to have our fast, quiet and fuel/CO2 efficient Dash 8-400 (Q400) aircraft back in the sky connecting customers to two of the UK’s premier regional cities.
“Over the coming weeks and months our flight schedule will further ramp up as we take delivery of additional aircraft and serve other new destinations from Birmingham including Amsterdam, Avignon, Brest, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.”
It may seem like a strange time to start up a new airline, but the pandemic has actually provided some favorable conditions for new airlines. At a CAPA summit on April 8, 2022, the chief executives of PLAY, flypop and Emerald Airlines all said it was a good time to launch.
“For a start-up airline there were huge opportunities on many fronts,” PLAY Chief executive Birgir Jonsson said. Notably, aircraft were available at good deals from lessors eager to find homes for aircraft that had been returned by other carriers, while flight crews were also available and keen to get back into the skies, the executives said.