Following a thorough review of its future fleet and network plans, Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has today (11th September 2019) announced changes to its Isle of Man operations to be completed through a phased and managed programme by the start of Summer 2020.
In a new commercial arrangement with Stobart Air, the airline’s two DeHavilland Q400 aircraft will be replaced by more economically viable ATR 72-600s on the established routes that Flybe will continue to offer, which include Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester. Stobart Air is a successful ATR operator and these shorter routes, that Flybe currently operates to and from the Isle of Man, are more suited to this type of aircraft.
The existing contract with the Isle of Man Department of Health and Social Care will remain in place, supporting customers seeking to access health services in the UK.
The first ATR is planned to enter service on 5th January 2020 followed by a second ATR on 29th March 2020, when Stobart Air will assume full Isle of Man operations and continue to operate these routes.
This means that Flybe will no longer require a physical base in the Isle of Man. The news was communicated personally to the Flybe team by Mark Anderson, CEO of Connect Airways, who visited the Isle of Man and also discussed the future plans with key stakeholders amongst which were Minister Raymond Harmer, Department of Infrastructure; Nick Black, Chief Executive and Tim Baker, Member of House of Keys, Department of Infrastructure; Mark Lewin, Chief Executive, Department for Enterprise; Ann Reynolds, Director of Ports and Jez Spake, Deputy Airport Director.
Providing Isle of Man customers with a good choice of connections and a great customer experience remains Flybe’s number one priority. Customers can continue to take advantage of one-stop connections that will remain available from Isle of Man to the world with its airline partners Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Qatar and Air France via Flybe’s Birmingham and Manchester hubs.
The daily Heathrow service, which was only introduced as part of Summer 2019 schedule, will conclude at the end of this summer season, with the last flight being on Saturday 26th October 2019.