Debate Magazine

FlyBe Nonsense

Posted on the 15 January 2020 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

This sounds like utter guff to me
The number of passengers it carries pales by comparison with better-known budget carriers such as easyJet or Ryanair.

As a company, it is only a tenth as big as collapsed holiday firm Thomas Cook, so there is little prospect of a government bailout.

But those who habitually choose Flybe see it as a vital service, because it reaches the places that other airlines fail to touch.

"Mainland UK doesn't understand how vital Flybe is to Northern Ireland," tweeted one regular passenger, Jason.

"As someone who travels with them frequently for work, Flybe's collapse would be a disaster for the NI economy.

"If this happens, Belfast City Airport will have only four flight routes. FOUR."

I'm going to suggest here that "Jason" is a PR guy for FlyBe in disguise. There's a cute trick at the end there. It mentions how many routes Belfast City Airport will have. What it doesn't mention is that there's also Belfast International Airport.
Easyjet alone fly Belfast to Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, London, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. OK, they're going to lose the direct service to places like Cardiff, but it's only another half hour from Bristol Airport to Cardiff.
And if this was so critical to people on this route, FlyBe wouldn't be in trouble, as they'd be falling over each other to snap up tickets rather than there being Belfast to Cardiff seats available next week for £140 return.
Despite Jason's heartfelt words, there are a number of other locations that owe just as much to Flybe in terms of connections to the wider world.

Cornish holiday resort Newquay, for one, has no direct rail services from London for much of the year and the journey takes about five hours. But Flybe can get you from London Heathrow to Newquay airport in little more than an hour.
Yeah, but it isn't "little more than an hour". You've got check-in time, parking, baggage, security, and all sorts of crap when you land at Heathrow. Then time from Heathrow to London on the Heathrow Express. Call it 3 hours door-to-door. And really, most of Cornwall isn't 5 hours, because go slightly east of Newquay and there's St Austell which runs direct trains to London in just over 4 hours. Other than a few people who want to go to their holiday homes, what's the critical link for Cornwall and London that can't wait 4 hours?
And if you live in the Isle of Man, Flybe's service can literally be a lifeline.

The airline has a contract with the government to transfer NHS patients from the island to medical facilities in Liverpool when they require treatment that cannot be provided closer to home.
And Easyjet also fly there, so just use them. Or get someone to schedule private jets. The Isle of Man aren't a British problem.
Small wonder, then, that Ben Bradshaw, the MP whose Exeter constituency includes Flybe's base, has spoken of the "valuable connectivity" that the carrier provides.

In fact, he described the airline as "a strategically important business".

Thanks to Flybe, Mr Bradshaw's constituents can fly from Exeter direct to a variety of destinations including Amsterdam, Paris and Geneva - places that would otherwise be accessible to them only after a lengthy trek via other places.
A lengthy trek? It's about an hour from Exeter to Bristol Airport that flies to Amsterdam and Paris.

Freelance art director Sarah Ward, who divides her time between London and Cornwall, is another Flybe frequent flyer. She tweeted that she would have to move house if the airline ceased to exist.
In an appeal to her local MP, Derek Thomas, she asked: "What are you doing to protect such vital infrastructure?"

Well, move house then. Figure out a way to work from home. Move job. You're the insane one with a 250 mile distance from home to work and depending on one airline. You did this.
If an airline goes out of business, no other operator automatically takes over their routes and there is no guarantee any would.
But hang on, this is a "vital link" to the country, but no-one can even fill a plane every day? Maybe, actually, they have a load of marginal routes like Belfast to Cardiff that most people just don't care about flying very often. Maybe it's a crap business that government should let go to the wall.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog