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Flybe - 8

Old 24th May 2016, 08:17
  #521 (permalink)  
 
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Have Flybe ever tried / operated Ostend?
For those north of Birmingham without easy access to the Channel Tunnel / Eurostar, a summer service to this once popular Belgian outpost could be useful.
Ostend is a great destination in itself,(with Brugges nearby too), but also affords good access to European rail travel.
A short hop from MAN,GLA,EDI or BHD to connect Northern UK to the EU.
Laker 1-11s used to do the MAN-OST in about 45 minutes in the 70s
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Old 24th May 2016, 09:10
  #522 (permalink)  
 
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Might be onto a winner as Brugge is a centre for weight loss surgery and the UK has an obese population in places
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Old 24th May 2016, 09:25
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Brugge a centre for weight loss surgery?!

...rather ironic given its predilection for chocolates and beer.
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Old 27th May 2016, 14:38
  #524 (permalink)  
 
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Rumours that FlyBe are to sponsor Sheffield United next season in an arrangement similar to that they have with Exeter City. Don't quote me as nothing is confirmed.
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Old 27th May 2016, 14:57
  #525 (permalink)  
 
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Looks very likely... Sheffield United's new Home kit is ready for take-off...and you could be there for the exclusive launch
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Old 31st May 2016, 12:44
  #526 (permalink)  
 
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The latest ex-Republic DH8D, G-PRPE, entered service on 29th May
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 08:56
  #527 (permalink)  
 
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DOT ATR-72 LY-MCA based at Brimingham for BEE flights as of this week.
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 16:45
  #528 (permalink)  
 
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Might be onto a winner as Brugge is a centre for weight loss surgery and the UK has an obese population in places
I've seen some pretty eccentric route suggestions over the years but idea that flying to a "once popular" ferry port frequented by obese people would be a good business suggestion for a prop airline has had me laughing all day

Mind you at this rate it'll be a base by Christmas...
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 19:22
  #529 (permalink)  
 
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I've seen some pretty eccentric route suggestions over the years but idea that flying to a "once popular" ferry port frequented by obese people would be a good business suggestion for a prop airline has had me laughing all day
I agree that the link to 'weight loss surgery' is pretty tenuous ... I certainly didn't know Oostende was famous for it. But don't extrapolate from that the idea that OST is an unsuitable destination in its own right. Firstly, the airport serves nearby Brugge (Bruges) - a tourism magnet of global renown and one of the most attractive cities in Northern Europe. The historic architecture and canals are widely admired. The region's beers and chocolates attract rave reviews internationally.

It is insulting to casually dismiss Oostende as no more than "a once popular ferry port". Oostende is the hub of a very popular tourist coast stretching from Knokke-Heist to De Panne. Oostende offers some of the best seafood restaurants in Europe and a selection of hotels from budget through to luxury. A tramway [De Lijn] centred on Oostende links the string of resorts located along this stretch of coastline.

The busy port of Zeebrugge and the city of Ghent also lie within the catchment of Oostende Airport. The region is also a good base for visits to the battlefields of WW1 centred around Iepers (Ypres). Memorial events and exhibitions marking 100 years since the Western Front campaigns are well worth seeing. The poignant military cemeteries are impeccably maintained. And the Ypres Salient Museum is one of the most moving of its kind. The nearby Menin Gate should not be missed.

The idea of offering an airlink between the North West of England and Oostende is not 'eccentric'. The absence of such is actually a glaring omission. Those of us in the West and North of England are not served by the Channel Tunnel, so a regular air service from these parts makes good sense. Different market dynamics are at play in the South-East, of course.

Your post suggests that you are unfamiliar with what Flanders has to offer the contemporary visitor. Rather than 'laughing' at the region, maybe you should pay it an overdue visit and see just what you've been missing. I take a holiday centred in Oostende roughly every two years and I've never been disappointed yet.
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 19:58
  #530 (permalink)  
 
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How long is the DSA contract for?
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 20:12
  #531 (permalink)  
 
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Shed_On_A_Pole

Thank you for an excellent post and I totally agree with your comments regarding Oostende and Bruges which are beautiful places in their own right for all the reasons you mentioned, having visited the area on numerous occasions I couldn't agree with you more.

I too think that an Ostend link could be viable even if it was only weekend flights at first.
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Old 3rd Jun 2016, 21:52
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I agree Ostend beach is nice but the weather is not up to the heat of Mediterranean beaches. Bruges can be reached fairly easily by train from Brussels airport; Ghent can be reached even more easily from Brussels airport.
Is there sufficient demand to Ostend airport as distinct from Brussels ?

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 3rd Jun 2016 at 22:34.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 00:11
  #533 (permalink)  
 
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the weather is not up to the heat of Mediterranean beaches
Exactly! This is one of its biggest attractions. Not everyone wants to be cooked.

Bruges can be reached fairly easily by train from Brussels airport
Belgium is not a large country, but Zaventem-Brugge is around three hours with a change of train; OST Airport-Brugge is about 30 minutes with short bus or taxi ride between airport and station.

Ghent can be reached even more easily from Brussels airport
No, Gent St Pieters is reached far more easily from Oostende than from Zaventem.

Is there sufficient demand to Ostend airport as distinct from Brussels ?
From a region such as NW England which is not served by the Channel Tunnel, yes. Bruges is a big deal. The other attractions which I itemised earlier play a role too. The Channel Tunnel and ferries to Calais make air services unviable from the South-East.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 08:40
  #534 (permalink)  
 
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Not sure where you get your timetable data from, but BRU to Ostend by train is less than 2 hours (unless you take a direct train that stops at every milk can along its way) and BRU to Ghent is less than an hour every hour. In Belgium everything is so close so no surprise that BRU is dubbed as the "National Airport" and LGG, OST and ANR are struggling to establish routes that last.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 12:37
  #535 (permalink)  
 
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but BRU to Ostend by train is less than 2 hours
Ah, so it's kind of like flying to London when you want to go to Manchester. Got it.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 12:51
  #536 (permalink)  
 
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virginblue - You are correct. Having checked, today's advertised timings are much faster than they used to be. Trainline Europe is now quoting 1H 55 average journey time Zaventem-Brugge with one change. Gent is 1H 11. You need to get into Brussels from the airport first. Fast trains then link Brussels to the coast via Gent and Brugge. But of course, it is these very same trains which offer quick connections from Oostende on their return journey too. So those transfers are correspondingly faster also. It is still significantly quicker to reach Brugge from Oostende-Brugge Airport (logically enough). And the airport is actually located within Oostende, so you require only a short taxi / bus transfer if that city is your destination. Note that many passengers flying NW England to Brussels arrive at Charleroi Airport as well. Journey times are longer from here.

I believe that there is a market for an airlink from NW England to this region of Flanders (especially for Brugge), as ferries Dover-Calais and the Channel Tunnel do not offer us the ease of access taken for granted by the SE market. Travel from Manchester to Oostende using the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry requires a road / rail journey and an overnight crossing.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 13:13
  #537 (permalink)  
 
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Let us suppose that Flybe decide to open a new summer seasonal route form Manchester operating maybe 2x per week

Flybe already operate routes from Birmingham and Southampton (but not Manchester) to Avignon, Biarritz and Brest, all 3 of which are in areas of France with plenty of appeal to a large number of British tourists.

Why should Manchester-Ostend be more profitable than, for example, Manchester-Brest ? A route like Manchester-Brest would presumably have the operational and commercial advantages that come with a join-the-dots approach to a network rather than opening an extra spoke.
Remember also that at the start of 2014, Flybe was close to bankruptcy - it may have pulled through the worst of the storm but right now it needs to build cash reserves and demonstrate stability to investors.

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 4th Jun 2016 at 13:37.
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Old 4th Jun 2016, 13:34
  #538 (permalink)  
 
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Well, I'm certainly not going to argue against provision of additional flights from MAN to Regional France. Bring them on! But seriously, few cultural tourist destinations enjoy the level of consumer recognition that Bruges does. There is a ready-made market for city breaks there. Can Brest say the same? Anecdotally, I would suggest that these markets are very different, with Brest popular amongst property-owners and Oostende-Brugge attracting the short-breaks trade.

Remember also that at the start of 2014, Flybe was close to bankruptcy - it may have pulled through the worst of the storm but right now it needs to build cash reserves and demonstrate stability to investors.
[Note: Response to additional commentary added after my initial reply]. David, I think most here are aware of this and bear it in mind. But some here appear to react as if offering citybreaks to Bruges is as crazy as selling package holidays to Saturn. Bruges is a proven old-favourite citybreak destination set amidst a region which offers much more besides. Oostende/Brugge air services are unviable from the South-East because that region has easy access to Calais ferries and the Channel Tunnel. The dynamic in regions of the UK not served by these is entirely different. Are you honestly suggesting that a twice-weekly DH8D wrapped around the weekend operating MAN-OST would drain FlyBe's cash reserves and imperil the airline? Do you not believe that there are 160 people per week in the North-West who fancy a citybreak to Bruges? We do have some appreciation for culture up here, you know! ;-) Beer and chocolate have their admirers too. And FlyBe is launching new routes anyway, so they can't be too worried.

Last edited by Shed-on-a-Pole; 4th Jun 2016 at 14:17. Reason: Original Question Expanded Retrospectively.
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Old 10th Jun 2016, 05:49
  #539 (permalink)  
 
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Retro colours

I wish Flybe would paint an aircraft or two in retro Jersey European Airways livery... The 1980's orange livery would look fantastic on a Dash 8 or ERJ-195
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Old 10th Jun 2016, 08:03
  #540 (permalink)  
 
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Year end results here Annual Results 2015-16
Profit after tax 6.8 million
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