British airline Flybe, which officially relaunched operations in April 2022, has taken delivery of an additional De Havilland-Canada Q400 turboprop regional aircraft, bringing its current fleet to a total of five planes of the type.
Speaking to Aviator on May 30, 2022, Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger confirmed the aircraft had joined the airline’s fleet under a long-term lease agreement with Dublin-based airplane leasing company Aergo Capital. The recent delivery will allow the airline to continue growing its planned fleet to a total of 32 aircraft over the next few years, according to the airline.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Aergo Capital as we take delivery of additional Q400s and grow our fleet with more of these aircraft that are very popular with our customers,” Pflieger was cited as saying.
“Passenger comfort (no middle seat ever!) and environmental sustainability have been a key focus area for Flybe from day one, and those are some of the reasons why we selected the Q400 for our fleet,” Pflieger continued.
The British regional airline ceased operations in March 2020 when it failed to secure COVID-19 emergency funding after seeking a $128 million loan from the British government under a rescue deal in January 2020. Financial difficulties resulted in the loss of more than 2,400 jobs and around 60 aircraft were grounded. The company had plans to rebrand as Virgin Connect but a delay to its restructuring plans and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the carrier to enter into administration.
At the time, the carrier’s business and assets were sold by administrators to a new company that renamed itself Flybe Ltd. Then, in June 2021, the UK Civil Aviation Authority revoked Flybe’s operating license, giving new hope for the future of the airline.
Months later, Flybe took delivery of its first 78 all-economy seated Dash 8-400 turboprop and in April 2022, as the airline’s rebranding and restructuring processes were a success, the airline restarted passenger flights from its main base at Birmingham Airport (BHX) in England.
While Flybe is currently operating flights across nine destinations in Europe, the carrier plans to expand its network by adding at least 31 routes by the end of summer 2022, according to the airline’s website.