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134brat 7th Sep 2021 19:03

Mr Oz Born
I have followed your recent cheerleading for Flybe 2.0 and would like to make a couple of points outwith the discussion about demand for their services in the post Covid market.
1. When BA Connect was 'handed over' to Flybe 1.0 it was a golden opportunity for the management to consolidate the business which, at that time, was certainly viable. Unfortunately the sudden growth went straight to the heads of those in charge and their greed and ambition far outstripped the potential for the company to consolidate and thrive.
2. It is nice of you to say that you have "every sympathy" with those who lost jobs or income directly or indirectly but that is so easy to say when it didn't happen to you.
3. You say that Flybe 2.0 is "starting from nothing". Well yes, that is true but one of the reasons they can do that is because they betrayed their legacy BRAL pensioners and many other creditors. All completely legal but morally contemptible.
4. Take another look at post #617. Skipness One Foxtrot is absolutely correct in his assertion that Flybe 1.0 is not a company which will be much lamented. Despite the many good people who worked for them, the business was thoroughly rotten from middle management up.

We all understand that airlines have to work as a business but when they fall into the hands of sharp suited hucksters whose only aim is a short term return in their investment, it is always going to end badly for those of us who work at the sharp end and enjoy flying our customers around safely.

I would love to be wrong about all this but l have seen it first hand....

SWBKCB 7th Sep 2021 19:12

Where as those plucky upstarts Loganair and Eastern have spotless histories.

134brat 7th Sep 2021 19:23

No, l am not seeking to defend the 'jiggery pokery' that goes on in all businesses.

I have been employed by Loganair and have worked in close cooperation with Eastern. I suppose what l was trying to say in my previous post is that, in all my experience of Regional UK airlines (particularly in Scotland) l have never seen anything quite so dysfunctional as Flybe.

The worst thing about it is that it was all so unnecessary. One or two people with the right priorities and the right approach could have built a solid business.

I am in a new job now and very happy with it but l can't help but look back and think that it could have been done so much better.

OzzyOzBorn 7th Sep 2021 19:42

134brat -

Please feel free to quote ANY passage from my recent postings which 'cheerlead' any one of the brands discussed. I simply analyse all carriers in the space - plus those who plan to enter the market - and draw conclusions accordingly. My comments in support of FlyBe staff who have lost their jobs echo exactly those I have expressed for similarly affected former employees of Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines, Stobart Air and others similarly affected. I make no apology for empathising with their plight. If you don't, what does that say about you as a person?

The remainder of your posting does not apply to me, because I have not been "cheerleading" any specific brand. I wish them all a prosperous future, how ever challenging that may be in reality. The existing incumbents, plus Emerald and FlyBe 2.0 in whatever form they take. Feel free to read back and confirm that.

134brat 7th Sep 2021 20:41

Mr Oz Born
So l don't empathize with former Monarch, Thomas Cook or Stobart staff? And there was me thinking this was a Flybe thread.

I responded to your posts in the context of what has been going on with the Flybe debacle. What kind of person l am is of no consequence in this discussion.

I have personal friends who were caught up in the Monarch/Graybull ripoff and will only say that their experience was similar to what Cyrus has done with Flybe so, if anything, my points are reinforced. (Do some research).

Ultimately my comments were aimed at the greedy,reckless,unethical chancers who get into business with the sole purpose of getting rich quick. I am well aware that there is little to be gained by ranting against this sort of thing but l am just an old school aviation guy who is hating what is going on in the business today.

In order to avoid any further histrionics, this will be my final word on the matter.

Downwind_Left 7th Sep 2021 21:03

Originally Posted by Mr A Tis (Post 11107596)
Domestic travel has never been busier- with so many people staying in the UK, there probably has never been a better time to stimulate domestic air travel where trains aren't suitable.

I’m sorry but that’s not even remotely true. Never been busier? On the main UK domestic routes frequencies are generally 50 to 75% less than at the same point in 2019. And that’s with all of the major airlines having spare aircraft and crew sitting around. Some low-frequency niche routes have been added, but the core volume and frequency routes have been decimated.

All air travel in the UK is suffering from massively reduced demand, most staycationers this summer were not travelling by air, and the key business routes show a very bleak picture.

The low frequencies from airlines rear have replaced former Flybe service are because of lack of demand. Planned multiple-daily flights being changed to less than daily are a sure indicator of that.

For example for the latest per-COVID month I can directly compare with 2021;
In July 2019 between Edinburgh and London (LHR/LCY/LGW/STN/LTN) there were 292,582 passengers
In July 2021 between Edinburgh and London (LHR/LCY/LGW/STN/LTN) there were 94,232 passengers
Thats a 67.8% reduction in passenger numbers

Quickest way to lose money at the moment is flying empty aircraft around. Far more commercially savvy to consolidate flights, and save yourself all the fuel, maintenance, airport, handling and navgiation costs from operating an almost empty flight.

The notion that Flybe 2 will stimulate demand at the moment is fanciful. All that will happen if they go up against the likes of Eastern on routes such as MAN-SOU, is you divide the same number of passengers between 2 airlines, create a price vacuum, and make the route unviable for both airlines.

cavokblues 7th Sep 2021 22:26

No idea accurate the stats are but this site (https://www.anna.aero/2020/03/05/fly...top-30-routes/) suggests only 168 pax per day were flying SOU - MAN. Six 78 seat Dash flights a day shows how much capacity Flybe 1.0 were providing with not many takers. 35% load factor!?

It would be interesting to see if a seats available vs pax travelled analysis exists.

Albert Hall 7th Sep 2021 22:29

Ozzy, I've been reading the thread over the last couple of days and mulling whether or not to post this, but on the basis you only live once, I'll go for it.

It does read as though your postings are either some kind of thesis on the UK market or a consultant/advisor-type commentary on the UK regional market and the limitless opportunities that you see within it. Either way there are mistakes and gross navigational errors in what you say. I hope that the new powers-that-be at Flybe 2 aren't labouring under the same illusions.

I'll try to use some numbers to back up my statement. You have added the fleets of Stobart and Flybe together to claim a 90-aircraft "gap in the market" after the demise of both. The best sources I can find show that Flybe had 66 active hulls as of its failure and Stobart 14 - so to start the numbers game, it's 80 and not 90. From there:
  • Stobart had already sent 6 of its ATR72 aircraft to backfill Flybe Q400 routes at BHD so that's a double-count of "lost aircraft". Now 74 left.
  • Emerald is replacing Stobart at DUB, BHD and ORK and apparently targeting 14-16 aircraft. That's direct backfill for Stobart so if we call it in the middle at 15, we're down to 59 left.
  • Flying equivalent to 5 Flybe lines of flying were in collaboration with Air France on CDG routes. AF has backfilled itself as far as it apparently wishes and without a Flybe 2/AF similar collaboration (and hell will freeze over before AF even takes the idea to its unions, before you get into AF/KL internal politics where KL hated Flybe with a passion and tried to kill the BE/AF deal), those aren't going to exist ever again. 54 and counting.
  • Flybe had 4 aircraft in its never-to-be-seen Summer 2020 fleet plan flying BHD, NCL, EDI and GLA to SEN. These only existed to satisfy Stobart as a shareholder and try to pump volume through SEN to help a certain individual towards a big bonus. 1 aircraft was set for LHR-DUS which was Virgin-drivel. 5 aircraft in Flybe's fleet plan of 66 there not requiring backfill - so we're now at 49.
  • easyJet has launched EDI-BHX, AMS-BHX and GLA-BHX with an A320 on each. Matter of opinion, but it's impossible to see how a Q400 going head-to-head with that will be either viable or sensible. 2 Q400s on each of the 3 routes no longer viable. Descending through FL43.
  • Blue Islands used to serve JER-LCY and pulled the aircraft off that to backfill Flybe routes on JER-EXT and JER-BHX. 42 and counting.
  • Eastern used to fly its ATR72s on the Scatsa oil contract and now flies them ex SOU on Flybe routes to MAN, BHD, DUB, RNS, NTE (if the latter get going) which is 2 aircraft covering 3 Flybe lines of flying. 39 steps to go.
  • Loganair pulled dedicated aircraft off NCL-BRU, MAN-NWI, EDI-NWI, GLA-SEN and ABZ-SEN to backfill Flybe presence on core peak-time flying NCL-SOU, ABZ-MAN, EDI-SOU, GLA-SOU, ABZ-BHX and off-peak infill to the likes of EXT, NQY, BHD. 5 aircraft there, so 34 left.
  • Loganair also looks to be taking on 2 aircraft for IOM to backfill IOM-LPL and IOM-MAN. 32 left.
  • Blue Islands is supposed to be getting 2 more aircraft for SOU-MAN and EXT-MAN. 29 left.
  • BA CityFlyer pulled aircraft from somewhere to replace Flybe on BHD-LCY. 28 left.
  • BA CityFlyer also put a large level of weekend capacity into SOU (subject to Covid) - roughly 1 aircraft. 27 to go.
  • Aurigny started GCI-BHX, GCI-EXT and GCI-SOU - roughly 1 aircraft. 26 and still falling.
  • easyJet and BA CityFlyer have both plonked capacity on Belfast-EMA, Belfast-Leeds etc. Assuming CityFlyer is temporary until Emerald are there, the easyJet A320 presence on BFS-EMA, BFS-LBA will undermine viability of a dedicated Q400 from BHD to either. 2 more aircraft gone. 24.
  • KLM have gone on SOU-AMS replacing the Flybe Q400 service. Descending through 23
  • Flybe LHR and LCY services with the exception of BHD (that we've already discounted as BA CityFlyer have taken it) were all reportedly a complete economic disaster area and no-one has taken over their positions on EDI-LHR, ABZ-LHR, EXT-LCY, LCY-AMS etc. 4 more aircraft there for which backfill would be economic lunacy. 19 left.
2 more aircraft were doubled-up to serve BHD-BHX and BHD-MAN from both ends of the route - question whether they were needed or whether the backfill above is sufficient. EDI-MAN appears all but dead - that was 1 aircraft. EDI-CWL and BHD-CWL don't look to support a dedicated aircraft any more which Flybe had. 2 more out. We're now at 16. Strip out the surplus standby aircraft and unproductive hulls that other airlines like easyJet, Loganair, BA CityFlyer already have but were duplicated in Flybe's fleet and that's probably another 2-3 gone. 14 to be kind.

Of those remaining 14 lines of flying, you have a number of year-round routes that still need backfill before you decide on a suicide mission against KLM and easyJet to be the third airline on MAN-AMS or restore chronically unprofitable routes into DUS from the likes of MAN and BHX against Eurowings (4 more Flybe aircraft). LON-NQY, EMA-AMS, EXT-AMS, EXT-CDG, SOU-CDG, BHX-STR/MXP/HAJ/LYS are all unserved today and there is a case as the market recovers for them to return. That's a hell of a mixed bag which would be difficult to knit into a viable business with maybe only 10 aircraft at best.

But the fallacy you've put forward that there are 90 aircraft lost from the UK regional market that need replacing is just that - a fallacy. There are one or two subjective calls in the numbers above but definately not enough to make a viable and practical business. So I reach the conclusion that your notion of a huge gap remaining is either through being misguided or deliberate flame-bait, and that's long before anyone has mentioned the effects of Covid on reduced business travel demand. Unless Flybe 2 is prepared to pony up for a pitch battle with any or all of the airlines listed above who have backfilled Flybe capacity then the gap is incredibly small and so widely distributed as to make a viable business impossible.

They might well end up giving it a go, but the destruction of shareholder value on all sides in the ensuing fight will be fruitless.

Right - I've said my bit. Over and out.

inOban 7th Sep 2021 23:13

For comparison, before covid there were up to 6 very early flights from EDI to LCY carrying business people who needed to get to the City before 9 (3 BACF, 3 Flybe AIRC.)

Finally this week BACF have relaunched a single flight to suit that market. Just one.

That I think illustrates the collapse of the day return business market.

SWBKCB 8th Sep 2021 08:09

The impact of interlining will be interesting as well in the way the regional market develops. Certainly LM have a portfolio of agreements, don't know about the others but presumably Flybe.2 will be playing catch-up and won't have immediate access to these markets as they recover

ATNotts 8th Sep 2021 08:22

Albert Hall,

The notion of there suddenly being viable work for 80-odd airframes is clearly nonsense. Covid-19 has seen to that, and many of the former FlyBe routes probably, as you have eloquently discussed, weren't viable except in the sense of keeping aircraft on expensive leases they couldn't get out of doing something.

If FlyBe 2.0 started up with more than 10 airframes I'd be amazed. I would reckon a figure of closer to 5 might prove to be the reality, and a very limited network centred around a single base - Birmingham European / Brymon Eurpoean / BEA / Maersk UK / Duo anyone? - that didn't end particularly prettily.

Sharklet_321 8th Sep 2021 08:49

Albert Hall
Loved your no nonsense post - you literally hit every nail on the head

Jamie2009 8th Sep 2021 09:19

Calm down, Calm down
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you think the relaunch will be a massive success or one of the deluded :* who thinks it will be a failure. Nobody knows for sure.

The bottom line is a global money company with a history of launching new airlines thinks it’s a runner and is investing millions….. they probably know their onions and have access to far more data than any of us.

Cyrus also upped their stake in Esken a couple of days ago.

willy wombat 8th Sep 2021 13:13

All very well to say that but it misses the point that someone “investing millions” into a new or reincarnated UK regional airline is likely to create a competitive bloodbath which could result in serious losses for the incumbent carriers and consequent job losses with no guarantee that the “new” carrier will succeed. I can’t but feel that the impetus to relaunch Flybe is in part coming from consultants collecting large fees to tell the investors what they want to hear.
I did like Albert Hall’s post. I was. going to post asking whether Ozzy is a consultant because his/her posts sound exact like the sort of drivel I used to hear from consultants.

Skipness One Foxtrot 8th Sep 2021 14:39

And how many money men ploughed money into Norwegian Air Shuttle, then some more money, then even more money and then some more money for luck? Virtually all shareholder value was decimated, the consultants took their fat fees and the founders and "master strategists" moved onto Norse Atlantic where they will get even richer doing the same thing all over again to some of the same people.

Great post Albert Hall

willy wombat 8th Sep 2021 14:47

A “friend” who was a consultant always said that the trick was to get in, come up with a plan, collect fee and then depart before the plan was enacted so that if/when it failed you were long gone.

Skipness One Foxtrot 8th Sep 2021 14:56

This is true, the painful truth is that so many so called leaders don't actually have the skill set to run a business successfully. My current org is moving to Agile as the Borard told the CEO to make changes and (s)/he was seduced by consultants on how agile was the answer. On roll out to the actual business the feedback was "WTAF?" and no one involved in the day to day could see it working. Ironically the push for this to happen was that the Exec were too slow in making decisions and thse at coalface needed empowering. End result was spaffing away a fortune on consultancy fees for an org that will be bastardised beyond the model to force it to just about work.
It's kinda rare nowadays for "leaders" not to rely on consultancts as they can shift blame if and when it goes wrong. The MBA can be a very useful tool BUT good business judgement doesn't always come with the qualification.

OzzyOzBorn 8th Sep 2021 16:06

My compliments to you, Albert Hall. Your post epitomises what a discussion forum should be about: a challenging debate encouraging exchange of ideas and expansion of knowledge, rather than the bitching and back-biting which we so often see. I'll gloss over your use of provocative words such as "fallacy" and "illusion" - though I do disagree with you on those points!

Now my response. Your posting argues the premise that I have advocated for a 100% backfill of 90 regional aircraft lost to the market (or 88: the most recent figures I'd seen were 70 for FlyBe and 18 for Stobart). Though if the true final number was 80, the same principle applies. What I actually wrote was this:

QUOTE: We can't expect to see 90 aircraft added back in to the market, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to gradually add half of that number. Which is probably beyond the scope of the small number of storm-battered incumbents still standing in the space. So new names will likely be part of the sector's future.

Note those two key words HALF and GRADUALLY. And I never suggested that NO new aircraft have entered the space already since the demise of legacy FlyBe. All of my contributions to this discussion have urged CAUTION across the board. I have acknowledged that we are currently still in the thick of "Covidworld", with interline decimated, business travel hit by fears of employer liability if an employee falls sick in the course of a business trip, and restrictions (or fear of reimposed restrictions) hitting leisure demand to destinations in Eire, NI, IOM and the Channel Islands. Even Scotland: I myself lost four EasyJet bookings when Sturgeon randomly banned travellers from NW England postcodes for a period of time in mid-2021. No, the opportunity to re-establish core regional business routes lies beyond this period of C-19 uncertainty; my posts are clear and consistent on that. But that is the timescale we are discussing with respect to FlyBe 2.0 - the subject of this thread. They won't be flying tomorrow morning. Using the example of SOU-MAN again, I called for the resumption of TWO daily services (NOT the original six) to allow a foothold for day return business travel to rebuild. Incremental frequencies beyond that should be demand-led. But until that day return option is offered, none of us can stamp our feet and insist that demand for it is gone forever never to return.

On your point about Emerald's potential fleet-size, that was accounted for by me as part of the recovery. We have a good idea of what they intend to do, and my suggestion that we could gradually see upto half of the originally lost aircraft restored to the market does include them. I specifically mentioned this in my postings. As for the point about services to AMS and CDG, regional carriers seemed to love piling in on those. They may choose to do so again, but it wasn't something I ever advocated for back then and I don't plan to do so going forward. On the topic of EasyJet, they have been proactive in allocating capacity to routes which the public are allowed to fly during S2021; a commendable strategy from their perpective, but whether or not they will stick with those markets as more familiar leisure routes open up to them again remains to be seen. Others including Jet2 (JER), Loganair (NQY, JER etc.) and Eastern also moved capacity to 'permitted' leisure destinations within the British Isles.

But, how ever much we may debate 'before and after' distribution of fleets, the bottom line remains this: routes such as our example SOU-MAN is being offered less than once daily, down from six daily. My contention is that routes such as this one and others like it do represent an opportunity for regional carriers as society recovers from C-19 restrictions. That means both the incumbent carriers still standing, and any new entrants - though I agree that one carrier per route would be desirable from a sustainability perspective. Though those carriers which under-serve a route will be game to face a challenge. Traffic may not rebound back to former levels, but I contend that things will recover to a far greater degree than we see now (as we head into another Winter of uncertainty and rumours of a "firebreak lockdown"). I accept that some here can only envisage a 'doom and gloom forever scenario' - is that a manifestation of recency bias? - but I find myself more optimistic than that. Not gung-ho ... caution is essential ... but in my view a viable regional market awaits the surviving companies post-Covid. Will FlyBe 2.0 be a participant in that space? I don't know ... never purported to ... and I certainly don't expect them to come close to legacy FlyBe in fleet-size or scope if they do (I never suggested that). But there is a prospective niche for them as long as formerly successful higher frequency routes remain served less than once daily.

cavokblues 8th Sep 2021 16:22

the bottom line remains this: routes such as our example SOU-MAN is being offered less than once daily, down from six daily. My contention is that routes such as this one and others like it do represent an opportunity for regional carriers as society recovers from C-19 restrictions.
I think the danger is assuming because Flybe flew the route 6 times a day there was demand for 6 flights a day. As I posted last night the estimated passengers each way on that route is about 164, just over two full dash 8's. (https://www.anna.aero/2020/03/05/fly...top-30-routes/)

SWBKCB 8th Sep 2021 16:33

CAA stats for 2018 are 220k and 2019 200k, so gives about 500 a day

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