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VLM Airline

Old 26th Oct 2006, 14:42
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VLM Airline

VLM have a strong presence in the North West with bases at MAN and LPL connecting to LCY. Why don't they operate from other areas of the UK if these 2 bases, being so close together are such a success ?

What about Yorkshire, the North East or Scotland. I would think there would be a market from say NCL/MME, LBA/DSA or EDI/GLA for their product.

Anything in the pipeline ?
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Old 26th Oct 2006, 15:26
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Well, the most obvious answer to "why don't they...?" is that they have LPL-LCY and MAN-LCY to themselves, whereas EDI, GLA and NCL are already served from LCY with reasonable business-traveller-friendly frequencies and I imagine VLM have better things to do than attempt to take on head-to-head competition. However I would agree with you that Leeds might be an option, but I'm not sure what the competing train journey time is.

(Edited to note: sorry, GLAGAZ, you're right - GLA not served from LCY. My mistake.)

Last edited by Cyrano; 27th Oct 2006 at 09:57. Reason: Correcting a mistake
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Old 26th Oct 2006, 15:32
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IIRC, VLM was seriously looking at NCL-LCY but then the route was opened by Eastern.

One explanation might be that given the difficulties in obtaining peak time slots at LCY, more money can be made with international services from LCY than with domestic runs.

One other reason is that VLM strongly advocates high frequency routes. With the excpetion of niche markets such as IOM or JER, they will not go for anything less than thrice daily. Rather than offering just one or two daily flights, they will axe a route (see LCY-MGL). There are probably not that many domestic routes that would justify three or four daily flights to LCY, given all the competition they have at LTN, LGW, LHR or STN.
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Old 26th Oct 2006, 16:24
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LBA unlikely I would say; bmi made a pig's ear out of the LBA-LCY route a couple of years back and that experience is hardly likely to inspire confidence in other operators. VLM themselves are generally going backwards on LPL-LCY and MAN-LCY as competition on the railways increases and of course the perception of airport "hassle" is disproportionately bigger, the shorter the sector. NCL-LCY is hardly a high volume route for Eastern, 1236 passengers in September, which gives you about 10 per flight on a 3 x daily weekday service which helps to reaffirm the view that even on high volume UK - London city pairs (e.g Newcastle, Glasgow, Belfast) making LCY work is not easy. Throw in the availability of peak slots at LCY, landing fees etc then it doesn't look good. On the flip side, improved public transport connections around LCY and the financial uncertainty regarding GNER's parent might persuade someone to have another go at LBA-LCY and with the right sort of corporate deals in place, it might just work, Personal view is that 2-5 years from now, the only service into London from LBA (and probably Yorkshire) will be someone like Jet2 into LGW .
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Old 26th Oct 2006, 17:21
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While I agree with 682ft ASML, I think that VLM with its pricing model and equipment would be able to attract higher pax numbers on NCL-LCY than Eastern is able to.

MAN and LPL to LCY have indeed gone back from, if memory serves, up to 10 and 5 times day.
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Old 26th Oct 2006, 21:45
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The problem with VLM expanding to other UK points is that the Fokker 50 is weight restricted out of London City and even on a 1 hour flight the airline will only book 47 passengers. Should weather conditions allow the airline may take extra passengers on a standby basis.

The airline would probably require Avro RJ's in order to operate flights longer than an hour.

Before anyone says that the Isle of Man flight is longer than an hour it is never full, no where near!
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Old 27th Oct 2006, 10:10
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Very informative replies, thanks.
I would have thought the LBA-LCY route would have potential, certainly to match what LPL offer, but having read the posts, maybe not.
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Old 27th Oct 2006, 15:47
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MAN is one of VLM's most successful routes.

As Ametyst said the RTOW can be a problem although if they are on a 10 departure then it's happy days
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Old 27th Oct 2006, 16:19
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Just to mention that I have emailed VLM a couple of times about route suggestions etc. and they have always replied quickly and thoroughly.
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