Thread: Flybe-9
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Old 15th Jun 2018, 13:20
  #273 (permalink)  
lfc84
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Flybe has confirmed to Isle of Man Newspapers the airline will re-establish its former Ronaldsway base.

Currently, Flybe flights from the island are operated under an agreement with Stobart Air, a deal which will end on March 31 next year.

A company spokesman said: ’Flybe can confirm that the arrangement it has with franchise partner, Stobart Air, for the [Liverpool and Man chester] routes will end next year.

’And that, with effect from March 31, 2019, both will continue on Flybe’s own 78-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft from a newly-established base.

’Flybe looks forward to continuing to serve the island community and to welcoming customers back on board including those travelling under its renewed three year contract with the Isle of Man Department of Health and Social Care.’

The airline later confirmed that new base will be at Ronaldsway.

The move has been welcomed by passenger watchdog Travelwatch after airport bosses confirmed discussions had been held with the airline.

A Travelwatch spokesman said: ’We believe it is a very positive move for the island for many reasons.

’It firstly shows a commitment to the island from the airline because if you set up a base somewhere, employ staff and everything that goes with it, it becomes much less likely that airline will pull out.

’At the moment, no airline has a base here and that means an airline could just leave if it decided the island isn’t profitable, so yes it is a positive move.’

Isle of Man Newspapers understands that Stobart Air crews were recently told the contract with Flybe would not be renewed next year.

Stobart has operated Flybe routes to and from the island for a number of years, mostly to Liverpool and Manchester with a daily flight to Birmingham.

The Travelwatch spokesman noted that the group hopes the decision could lead to more routes opening to and from the island in the future.

He explained that at present two aircraft are used for Manx routes but that Flybe could be interested in operating a third aircraft, as would be the company’s standard practice for smaller regional airports.

He added: ’The aircraft will also hopefully be better suited to the needs of patients who travel to Liverpool for treatment.

’Due to the aircraft used by Stobart, the ATR 72-500, patients transfers are currently loaded only from the rear door. Hopefully, with a two door aircraft like Flybe usually operate, this should be easier for them.

’The aircraft that the company usually operates have a higher capacity too which would be good for the island.’

The current ATR 72-500 aircraft contain hold 72 passengers while Flybe’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft will hold 78 passengers.

The Travelwatch spokesman was hopeful the move could provide more work for aircraft engineers in the island.

Stobart Air also operates Dublin flights to and from the island under the Aer Lingus Regional brand.
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