Flybe Group PLC announced their fleet plans today. “After a comprehensive review of regional aircraft options, Flybe Group plc (“Flybe”), Europe’s largest regional airline, has concluded that the Bombardier Q400 is the best core aircraft for its current and future needs. It will therefore remain as the backbone of the Flybe fleet for the foreseeable future. The Q400 is faster than the alternative turboprops, with a performance close to jet aircraft over the relatively short sectors that Flybe operates. In addition, with excellent operating economics including turboprop fuel efficiency, it is cheaper to operate than similar-sized jet aircraft, and has a much smaller noise footprint. Flybe will however continue to operate a number of Embraer E175 jets for longer or busier routes.”
The airline will be handing back nine E195s but keep four E175s it has on order. Here we again have an airline that is simplifying its fleet around core equipment. The Q400’s performance is a distinct advantage for airlines operating in crowded airspace. The map below shows where the airline flies.
The E175 loyalty follows a similar logic. The E175 is capable of serving several more markets than the airline shows on its map above. Below we see a 2,500NM range from Manchester as an example. The E175 is capable of serving all these places at lower costs and load factor than the E195.
The airline’s active fleet at the start of this year looked like this.