Founded 1979 (as Jersey European Airways)
Operating bases
Frequent-flyer program Rewards4all
Airport lounge Flybe Executive Lounge
Subsidiaries Flybe Nordic
Fleet size 67 (+37 orders)
Destinations 65
Company slogan Low cost, but not at any cost
Parent company Rosedale (J.W.) Investments Limited
Headquarters Jack Walker House
Exeter International Airport
Devon, United Kingdom
Key people
Revenue increase £595.5 million (12 months to 31 March 2011)[1]
Operating income increase £7.6 million (12 months to 31 March 2011)[1]
Net income decrease £3.8 million (12 months to 31 March 2011)[1]
Jack Walker House, Flybe head office at Exeter International Airport

Flybe Group PLC (styled as flybe) is a British low-cost regional airline headquartered at the Jack Walker House at Exeter International Airport in Devon, England.[2] It operates over 180 routes to 65 European airports[3] and is Europe's largest regional airline, carrying over 6.7 million passengers during 2010.[4]

In December 2010, Flybe raised £66m from a stock market flotation[5] and is now listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSEFLYB).[6] The airline employs around 2,800 people.[1]

Flybe's largest base is Southampton Airport and it has other large bases at Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport and Belfast City Airport and 14 aircraft and crew bases across the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The company holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence permitting it to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.[7]

The company operates a strong regional network in the Nordics and Baltics after acquisition in collaboration with Finnair of the Finnish airline, Finncomm Airlines since rebranded as Flybe Nordic. The goal is to become the biggest regional player in the Northern European region.



A Jersey European Vickers Viscount seen at Düsseldorf International Airport in 1980.

Flybe logos

Jersey European

Flybe started operations on 1 November 1979 as Jersey European Airways (JEA), as a result of a merger of Jersey-based Intra Airways and Bournemouth-based Express Air Services.[8][9] Jersey European Airways was the brainchild of John Habin, a resident of Jersey and the majority investor in JEA. Having sold Aviation Beauport and other business interests, Habin established a few key routes from Jersey to the UK. Jersey European Airways was taken over in November 1983 by Jack Walker's Walker Steel Group who were already the parent company of Blackpool based charter airline Spacegrand Aviation. The two airlines were run separately, with partially shared management, until their amalgamation within the Walker Aviation Group in 1985, under the Jersey European name, with the airline's headquarters moving to Exeter.[10]

The airline rebranded as British European in June 2000,[11] shortening this title to Flybe on 18 July 2002 and repositioning itself as a full service, low-fare airline. On 3 November 2006 it was announced that agreement in principle had been reached for Flybe to acquire BA Connect, with the exception of London City Airport services. The acquisition was completed in March 2007. The airline is owned by Rosedale Aviation Holdings (69%), Flybe staff (16%) and International Airlines Group (15%) as a consequence of the acquisition of BA Connect. It had 3,000 employees at January 2008.[12] Chief Executive Officer Jim French was recognised in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List with a CBE for his services to the airline industry.[13]

In the financial year to March 2010, Flybe had a turnover of more than £570 million and had around 2,800 employees.[1]

Acquisition of BA Connect

On 5 March 2007 Flybe completed the acquisition of the former regional airline business of British Airways. The purchase was first announced on 3 November 2006 with British Airways acquiring a 15% stake in the airline. The acquisition (which did not include BA Connect's London City Airport routes, which have been taken over by BA CityFlyer) has increased Flybe's route network in both the UK and continental Europe making Flybe Europe's largest regional airline.[14]

Loganair franchise agreement

On 14 January 2008 it was announced that Flybe had signed a franchise agreement with Scottish airline Loganair, to commence on 26 October 2008 following the termination of Loganair's franchise agreement with British Airways on 25 October 2008.

The agreement will see Loganair aircraft flying in Flybe colours on 55 routes from Scotland.[15]

Stock market flotation

On 10 December 2010, Flybe floated on the London Stock Exchange, with trading in shares commencing on the same day. Full public release of shares followed on 15 December 2010. The share price was set at 295p valuing the company at approximately £215 million, and raising £66 million for the company, half of which will go towards fleet expansion.[5][16]


Flybe operates short haul services to destinations throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and continental Europe.

Flybe franchise and codeshare destinations


Dash 8 Q400 at takeoff
Flybe Dash 8 Q400 in planform view
Embraer 195 at Manchester Airport
Alternative low cost, but not at any cost green livery

As of July 2011, the Flybe fleet includes the following aircraft,[17] with an average age of 4.3 years.[18]

Flybe Fleet
Aircraft In service On order Passengers
Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 53 2[19] 78
Embraer E-175 0 35[20] 88
Embraer E-195 14 118
Total 67 37

Aircraft orders

  • On 6 June 2005, Flybe placed an order for 14 Embraer E-195 aircraft plus options on an additional 12 aircraft. Flybe is the worldwide launch customer for the Embraer E-195. Delivery of the aircraft started in September 2006. The new aircraft were to replace Flybe's BAe 146 aircraft, completing the fleet rationalisation started in 2003 which also includes an order for up to 61 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft (41 firm orders and 20 options).
  • On 14 June 2005, Flybe converted four existing Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 options into firm orders bringing its fleet of Q400s to 45 aircraft when they are delivered.[21]
  • On 1 September 2006, the airline received its first 118-seat Embraer 195, the launch customer of the product. Fitted with single Head-up Guidance System (HGS) and configured to offer single-class service, the aircraft is intended to replace the airline’s BAe 146s.
  • In May 2007, the airline signed a deal for 15 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft valued at $394 million, with options for a further 15. It is the world's largest Q400 operator and this order will increase its Q400 fleet to 60.[22]
  • On 20 July 2010, Flybe placed an order for 35 Embraer E-175 aircraft worth $1.3bn, with options for 65 more (value $2.3bn) and purchase rights for a further 40 (value $1.4bn). The 88-seat aircraft will be delivered between July 2011 and March 2017.[20].

Previously operated

Cabin and onboard service

Flybe employs allocated seating on all flights and passengers have the option to choose a seat online in advance. Economy Plus ticket holders receive a complimentary drink and snack, access to Flybe Executive Lounges, free prebooked seating and priority check-in. For Economy passengers, the airline operates a buy on board programme, called "Deli in the Sky", offering food and drinks for purchase.

The airline offers gifts and fragrances for sale on all flights, as well as duty free cigarettes and spirits on flights to destinations that are outside of the European Union, including Jersey and Guernsey.[23] Onboard sales are an important part of the airline's ancillary revenue.

Corporate affairs

Passenger numbers

Flybe carried over 6.7 million passengers during 2010, a 0.4% increase compared with 2009.[4] As per the CAA's April/May 2009 passenger statistics, Flybe is now the UK's largest domestic airline (26% of total UK domestic passengers that flew during April chose a Flybe-branded flight, 3% more than those who chose an easyJet-branded flight). It carried 451,413 domestic passengers during April 2009, excluding franchise flights operated by Loganair. This puts Flybe in pole position among the UK's domestic carriers, ahead of easyJet, British Airways, BMI Group and Ryanair. During that period Flybe also became Gatwick's leading domestic operator.[24]

Year Total passengers Total flights Load factor Passenger Change YoY
2005 4,683,482 80,919 67.7%
2006 4,536,841 86,044 63.3% decrease003.1%
2007 6,050,211 133,979 61.3% increase033.4%
2008 6,854,491 139,891 63.6% increase013.3%
2009 6,708,253 137,150 60.6% decrease002.1%
2010 6,737,698 144,429 61.0% increase000.4%
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [4]

Financial performance

year ended
Turnover (£m) Profit / (Loss)
before tax (£m)
Net Profit / (Loss) (£m)
2007 367.5 (16.2) (19.9)
2008 535.9 30.4 34.9
2009 572.4 0.1 4.1
2010 570.5 5.7 6.7
2011 595.5 7.6 3.8
Note: Flybe financial year runs to 31 March
Source: Flybe Reports and Accounts

Subsidiaries and franchises

Flybe Nordic

A joint-venture with Finnair was announced in 2011. The company is called Flybe Nordic and it started operations 30 October 2011, when Finncomm Airlines was renamed as Flybe Nordic as a result of ownership change. Route structure of the airline consists of franchise routes operated for Finnair and Flybe Nordic own routes under BE- code. Also flights with BE- designator are code-shared with Finnair. Developments in the company have already started as published by Airliner World[25]


Flybe operates many flights in Scotland through a franchise agreement with Loganair.


Flybe has codeshare agreements with several airlines, including:

Flybe has other interline arrangements with American Airlines, BMI, Continental Airlines, Emirates Airline, Ghana International Airlines, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, TAP Portugal, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.[29]

Commercial practices

Flybe advertise flights from Leeds Bradford Airport on the side of a Leeds taxi, seen outside the University of Leeds in 2010.
  • On 24 April 2006 Flybe announced a 3-year deal with Southampton Football Club for sponsorship of the main club and shirt. On 11 December 2008, it was announced that Flybe had extended the deal by an extra year. However, this sponsorship deal has now ended with the club's decision to keep the club's shirts free of sponsorship for its 125th anniversary.[30] Flybe are also the main and shirt sponsor of Exeter City Football Club and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
  • Flybe formerly sponsored Norwich City (2006–2008), Birmingham City (2003–2007) and Southampton F.C. (2006–2010)
  • Flybe sponsor the weather bulletins on ITV Meridian, STV, ITV South West, Channel Television and UTV, along with the sport sections of the Manchester Evening News, The Express and Echo (Exeter), Echo (Cardiff), The Courier (Isle of Man) and The Examiner (Isle of Man). ITV weather bulletins are mostly sponsored by low-cost airlines, with Bmi Baby and also sponsoring regional weather.
Norwich airport rebate incident

In 2008, in order to avoid losing a £280,000 rebate from Norwich Airport, Flybe hired 172 actors as "fake passengers" on 11 flights to Dublin.[31][32][33] As a result the environmental group Friends of the Earth called on the government to launch an investigation into the aviation industry.[34]


  • October 2011: Gold Punctuality Award (see Flybe/News/Archive/October 2011)
  • November 2009: Most Environmentally and Socially Responsible Budget Airline’ award at The British Travel Awards 2009 (Second year running)
  • October 2009: ICARUS Environmental Award at the Environmental Supplier Awards organised by the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM) UK and Ireland
  • September 2009: European Airline MRO of the Year by AVIATION WEEK’s Overhaul and Maintenance (O&M) magazine.
  • January 2009: Air Transport World 2009 Global Regional Airline of the year
  • December 2008: Buying Business Travel ‘Green Diamond’ award for environmental commitment
  • November 2008:
    • Best Domestic Airline at the 16th Annual Scottish Passenger Agents Association (SPAA) Travel Awards
    • Most Environmentally Responsible Budget Airline award at the British Travel Awards
  • October 2008:
    • Brussels Airport Environmental Award for 2008
    • Number 1 in the Sunday Times 2008 Top Track 250 of privately-owned companies
  • September 2008: Special Merit for Commitment to the Environment Award at the 2008 Budgie Awards
  • July 2008: Jim French awarded 2008 Regional Leadership Award at the Global Airline Strategy Awards
  • March 2008: Franco-British Chamber of Commerce Achievement of the Year Award
  • June 2007: Flight International ‘Best Management Team 2007’ Award


  1. ^ a b c d e f Flybe Reports and Accounts
  2. ^ "Contact Us." Flybe. Retrieved on 29 August 2009. "Customer Call Centre Flybe Customer Call Centre Jack Walker House Exeter International Airport Devon EX5 2HL United Kingdom"
  3. ^ Flybe Company Information
  4. ^ a b c "UK Airline Statistics | Data | Economic Regulation". UK CAA. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  5. ^ a b Regional airline Flybe raised £66m from stock market flotation
  6. ^ The London Stock Exchange welcomes Flybe to the Main Market
  7. ^ Operating Licence
  8. ^ "World airline directory: Jersey European Airways". Flight International, 26 July 1980, p. 323.
  9. ^ Wright 2001, p. 48.
  10. ^ Wright 2001, p. 49.
  11. ^ Wright 2001, p. 52.
  12. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International: p. 83. 2007-04-03. 
  13. ^ HM The Queen's 2009 Birthday Honours List
  14. ^ announced that they had completed the acquisition of BA Connect
  15. ^ "Flybe signs historic franchise deal with Loganair". Flybe Press Office. Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  16. ^ Press Association. Press Association (2010-11-14). Retrieved on 2010-12-14.
  17. ^ UK CAA Aircraft Register – Dash 8–400 and E-195 aircraft
  18. ^ Flybe Fleet Age
  19. ^ Bombardier Q-Series Program Status Report
  20. ^ a b "Flybe announces a deal for up to 140 Embraer E Series Aircraft". Flybe Press Office. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  21. ^ Air International, July 2005
  22. ^ Air Transport World 9 May 2007
  23. ^ "Shopping." Flybe. Retrieved on 18 November 2008.
  24. ^ – News (Flybe now UK's number one domestic airline, 3 July 2009)
  25. ^ "Flybe Nordic. A challenge to the Skyways-Cimber venture?". AirlineHunter. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  26. ^ News Archives | July 2010. (2010-07-13). Retrieved on 2010-12-14.
  27. ^ "Flybe signs new codeshare with Etihad Airways". Flybe Press Office. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  28. ^ "Flybe signs codeshare with Etihad". Business Traveller News. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  29. ^ – News (Flybe announces three new key interline partnerships, 15 May 2008)
  30. ^ "The Shirt Is Yours".,,10280~1952533,00.html. 
  31. ^ "Airline asks actors to fill bogus flights in bid to win £280,000 bonus". Daily Mail (London). 30 March 2008. 
  32. ^ Budget airline Flybe asks actors to fill seats to avoid penalties. This is Money (2008-03-31). Retrieved on 2010-12-14.
  33. ^ "Airline sought actors for flights". BBC News. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  34. ^ Friends of the Earth: Archived press release: Government must urgently investigate aviation industry. (2008-04-01). Retrieved on 2010-12-14.
  • Wright, Alan J. "Independent Survivor". Air International, July 2001. Vol 61 No 1. pp. 48–52.

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