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Old 21st Sep 2018, 08:44
  #2018 (permalink)  
Expressflight
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: UK
Age: 71
Posts: 2,339
Tagron

I agree with most of what you say. I think that some of the new STK/BE routes that were launched were marginal in terms of long term success while others showed real potential and that potential has been realised with the result that RYR and EZY have taken them on for the future. I also think that the costs of launching the routes has been much greater than anticipated and this is alluded to in the Stobart Trading Statement. The MAN route in particular may never be able to turn a profit and this was much discussed, externally and internally, at the time of its launch so I don't see much prospect of that continuing under another brand. What the SEN-MAN did prove is that there is sufficient demand within the catchment areas for the route at a certain pricing level. What surprised me was that at the same time that it became apparent the route would not continue next year they increased the prices, whereas I would have expected that a period of selling at the new prices would be allowed to elapse before pulling it, just to see if it the market would absorb the price increases.

Like you I had expected Stobart to now identify a second tranche of routes and this could still happen next summer if one of the E195s remains SEN-based, which I'm hearing is the current plan. Also I would have expected the ATR routes to continue in 2019. Both of these things really need the BE/STK franchise deal to be continued beyond June 2019 to achieve maximum effect; the brand could change to, say, Loganair but that would entail expensive awareness marketing and short term traffic loss perhaps so would not be ideal. As you suggest I think there must be negotiations going on with perhaps more than one potential partner and this is the cause of the delay in releasing the Spring 2019 timetable.

It's certainly no surprise that there is speculation regarding the outcome of all this and that is surely inevitable so the sooner something concrete is announced the better for all parties concerned.
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