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FlyPlymouth: Reality or Fantasy?

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FlyPlymouth: Reality or Fantasy?

Old 30th May 2020, 17:30
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Harry - it's clear you think an airport in Plymouth will make money based on your experiences some time ago - if that was the case why did it close? You talk about using BHX in the past - that's a got a catchment of many millions and really good transport links. You don't seem to understand that a city of 250,000 in the UK is too small to support regular scheduled services. That is a fact that has been proven over and over. You keep coming back to the Scots airports and ignore my questions about Leeds (or Sheffield, or Doncaster, or E Midlands or Norwich...)

I am not pro-Exeter - I think it doesn't make economic sense either (and rail competition is even higher there) . But it does exist - Plymouth doesn't . It has gone and will never come back
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Old 31st May 2020, 03:29
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
Harry - it's clear you think an airport in Plymouth will make money based on your experiences some time ago - if that was the case why did it close? You talk about using BHX in the past - that's a got a catchment of many millions and really good transport links. You don't seem to understand that a city of 250,000 in the UK is too small to support regular scheduled services. That is a fact that has been proven over and over. You keep coming back to the Scots airports and ignore my questions about Leeds (or Sheffield, or Doncaster, or E Midlands or Norwich...)

I am not pro-Exeter - I think it doesn't make economic sense either (and rail competition is even higher there) . But it does exist - Plymouth doesn't . It has gone and will never come back
You are deliberately missing the points that I have been making and/or deliberately misquoting me:

1. Yes, BHX has good transport links, that has been the very point that I was putting across, where is the nearest airport to Plymouth with such good links, to your referenced Dundee it would be EDI, to your referenced Prestwick it would be GLA, to Plymouth you suggest that it would be EXT and/or BRS, really, are you aware of the limited scheduled services operated from these airports and are you still adamant that an air link from PLH to perhaps a LON airport or MAN wouldn't attract passengers?

2. I have NEVER said that a reopened PLH would make money.

3. As I have previously posted PLH closed, indeed some of it had already been sold off, for falling in to the wrong hands who valued it as real estate rather than a public transport facility.combined with naive operators who continued to operate oversized aircraft on combined air services with NQY that had originally only been planned for one season due to a then aircraft shortfall, only 3 DHC7's instead of the planned 4 DHC7's in a fleet.

4. This thread is about Plymouth, west Devon and east Cornwall, you state I keep going back to Scots airports, yet you are the one that intoduced them in to your reasoning, and more recently you intoduce Yorkshire airports in to your reasoning, i.e. as soon as I may identify one of your argumements as being irrelevent to change your argument to then complain that I'm not keeping up with your changes, what have those got to do with a thread about Devon & Cornwall? ... About as much as my local airport of Siargao has I guess! ... And as for Norwich, I previously worked there so know of it, an isolated catchment area with STN around 80 miles down the road but it seems to survive, a KLM maintenance facility, oil industry related helicopter services after the closures of such heliports as Beccles and North Denes, and some scheduled & IT holiday services that continue to prosper partly because of it's isolation ... Which might also be said about Plymouth, isolated from a main hub airport.

Last edited by Harry Wayfarers; 31st May 2020 at 04:05.
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Old 31st May 2020, 08:16
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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"2. I have NEVER said that a reopened PLH would make money."

the defence rests m'lud Mr Wayfarers thinks an airport at Plymouth is a Good Thing, Sr. Asturias thinks it doesn't have a cat in hells chance

We leave it to the jury - or the market
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Old 31st May 2020, 08:51
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"2. I have NEVER said that a reopened PLH would make money."

the defence rests m'lud Mr Wayfarers thinks an airport at Plymouth is a Good Thing, Sr. Asturias thinks it doesn't have a cat in hells chance

We leave it to the jury - or the market
LOL, this is neither a court of law nor Only Fools and Horses, the title of this thread is is a 'FlyPlymouth' group are serious or not", someone has taken this to a different dimension of airport profitability or not, is he serious or just a fantasy?
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Old 3rd Jun 2020, 18:38
  #45 (permalink)  

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Is there/was there room for three airports in Devon and Cornwall (PLH, EXT and NQY)?

At the beginning of this century Sutton Harbour Holdings had some sort of vision for a new airport in the South Hams that would have replaced both PLH and EXT. Would that have worked better than the then existing duopoly of PLH and EXT?

The comment was made that BRS has a Ďlimitedí number of scheduled services. If the comment was directed at that airportís long-haul scheduled services then obviously itís undeniably accurate because BRS has none. Its only long-haul services are the 4 x weekly TUI B787 routes to Florida and Mexico.

If it is a view of BRSís scheduled network as a whole Iím surprised. In summer 2020 BRS would have had 102 scheduled routes, including 20 to capital cities. COVID-19 has decimated that as it has across the industry generally. Itís a fact that most of the scheduled services are by low-cost airlines but BRS is not alone in this when it comes to regional airports.

Included in the BRS scheduled routes were four with onward connectivity: Amsterdam (KLM), Dublin (Aer Lingus); Brussels (Brussels Airlines); Frankfurt (Lufthansa).

Brussels Airlines took back their BRU codeshare route last year after flybmi went out of business, and Lufthansa were to bring back FRA when its flybmi codeshare route ceased. Because of COVID-19 the BRU route has been suspended and Lufthansa are yet to begin their advertised April 2020 return for the same reason.

Devonians do use BRS in considerable numbers. The airport says that 14% of its 9 mppa throughput originates or terminates in the county, with another 5% travelling from/to Cornwall. BRS is now the eighth busiest UK airport measured by passenger numbers having overtaken GLA last year.

Should anyone think this is a spotterís or airport supporterís post I am neither. Registrations, liveries and the like hold no interest for me. BRS happens to be my local airport but I have no football fan-type affinity with it. If another airport suits my purpose better for a particular trip then Iíll use it. To me BRS is a useful facility as are such places as bus stations, railway stations and shopping centres.
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Old 4th Jun 2020, 03:40
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MerchantVenturer View Post
Is there/was there room for three airports in Devon and Cornwall (PLH, EXT and NQY)?

At the beginning of this century Sutton Harbour Holdings had some sort of vision for a new airport in the South Hams that would have replaced both PLH and EXT. Would that have worked better than the then existing duopoly of PLH and EXT?

The comment was made that BRS has a Ďlimitedí number of scheduled services. If the comment was directed at that airportís long-haul scheduled services then obviously itís undeniably accurate because BRS has none. Its only long-haul services are the 4 x weekly TUI B787 routes to Florida and Mexico.

If it is a view of BRSís scheduled network as a whole Iím surprised. In summer 2020 BRS would have had 102 scheduled routes, including 20 to capital cities. COVID-19 has decimated that as it has across the industry generally. Itís a fact that most of the scheduled services are by low-cost airlines but BRS is not alone in this when it comes to regional airports.

Included in the BRS scheduled routes were four with onward connectivity: Amsterdam (KLM), Dublin (Aer Lingus); Brussels (Brussels Airlines); Frankfurt (Lufthansa).

Brussels Airlines took back their BRU codeshare route last year after flybmi went out of business, and Lufthansa were to bring back FRA when its flybmi codeshare route ceased. Because of COVID-19 the BRU route has been suspended and Lufthansa are yet to begin their advertised April 2020 return for the same reason.

Devonians do use BRS in considerable numbers. The airport says that 14% of its 9 mppa throughput originates or terminates in the county, with another 5% travelling from/to Cornwall. BRS is now the eighth busiest UK airport measured by passenger numbers having overtaken GLA last year.

Should anyone think this is a spotterís or airport supporterís post I am neither. Registrations, liveries and the like hold no interest for me. BRS happens to be my local airport but I have no football fan-type affinity with it. If another airport suits my purpose better for a particular trip then Iíll use it. To me BRS is a useful facility as are such places as bus stations, railway stations and shopping centres.
MV,



The point of my posts are of what Plymouth is lacking and not to complain if/what Exeter and/or Bristol may be lacking, that previous poster made quite a ridiculous statement that everybody has been happy travelling by train without thinking that trains don't travel across seas and oceans very well and if everybody is so happy to be travelling by train then why would BRS have 102 scheduled routes including 20 capital cities! Ö Have no fears, in one of my previous lives l worked at CWL and I'm not about to get in to a 'knocking BRS' mode anytime soon.



My previous examples of where I travelled to from BHX, and I didn't exactly hand pick where I travelled to/from, these were places that my business determined that I travelled, I note that EZY operate FCO and MXP from BRS but their flight schedules totally unsuitable for business related activities, meetings, time away from the office etc., so were I living, let's say in Liskeard, I would need to get to a significant airport thus back to the subject of the nearest to east Cornwall being LHR, from BHX I would regularly fly via intermediary airports, to FCO, MXP and HKG via ZRH, to RIX via AMS or CPH, to ARN via AMS or FRA and to TSR via MUC so I, and many, would have no problem flying to these via, let's say, LHR if a local airport such as PLH offered feeder services. That previous poster mentioned NWI, I guess that NWI's nearest UK significant airport is LHR, by comparison to PLH's 205 miles, just 143 miles away and for such a reason the NWI/AMS air link has been operating for some 4 or 5 decades already, many of the local population utilise AMS rather than LHR because they can fly to/from AMS whereas they can't LHR.



But I note that from BRS EZY are operating 156+ seater aircraft to such domestic destinations as BFS, EDI, GLA, INV, IOM and NCL, if BRS can have the demand for Airbus's on such routes isn't it just conceivable that PLH could have demand, let's say, for16 or 32 seater aircraft serving Cornwall and west Devon on just some of those, along with other, routes with travellers prepared to pay a higher fare for the convenience of flying from/to their local airport, look at GLO's locality to both BRS and BHX yet Manx2 made such routes IOM and CI viable at GLO!



Certainly in the old days PLH and EXT operations didn't conflict with each other, Brymon were operating both LHR and LGW from PLH with maybe 60% loads on the LGW DHC6 whilst Air UK tried operating an EMB110 EXT/LGW, after Air UK gave it up Brymon routed via EXT, they might have been carrying 10+ PLH pax yet maybe only 2 or 3 EXT pax and even more recently I don't believe that Flybe were operating anything excessive out of EXT yet carrying 200+ pax per day out of NQY to LON alone never mind the other routes out of NQY, it's west Devon and Cornwall where alternative surface transports are lacking.



Whilst I feel sure that many from the south-west peninsula utilise BRS for their leisure flights I also feel sure that the majority of business travellers are utilising perhaps LHR, BHX or MAN and/or a feeder flight from NQY.



The previous poster introduced an argument of profitability of a re-opened PLH which hadn't been the subject of this thread, well PLH has to be one of the smallest airfield areas of real estate in the country to afford and maintain, just compare it to the size of the real estate and concreted areas of Manston and they think that they can make a go of Manston with basically freighters, Machrihanish had/has the longest runway in Scotland, perhaps ideal for transatlantic freighter fuel stops but Campbeltown Airport decided otherwise and reduced the runway and real estate from 10,000' to just 6,000' whilst, by comparison, NQY are maintaining a full length 9,000' runway that they might only ever utilise once in a blue moon and whilst NQY remains government subsidised.



Admittedly a re-opened PLH might need some government assistance during the early days but with 16/32 seater aircaft in/out all day to/from such destinations as LON, MAN, EDI, GLA, IOM, DUB, ORK, BHD, JER, GCI, ISC along with, as there was in the old days, a based general aviation maintenance facility, passing military traffic popping in/out for fuel, incentive(s) for private flyers to visit etc. then it has every chance, alas, as previously posted, the price tag placed upon the real estate seems to be a major stumbling block.



Ditto, I am not a spotter either but I did previously work at PLH and in such a small airport environment it was easy to learn what the travelling public wanted, I've been retired from the airline malarkey for some 10 years already but I can't forget the knowledge that I learned to roll over and be as negative as some may choose to be.
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 11:49
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Reality not reaction

The reality of the situation is that the 'land value' of most small airfields determines what will happen, and it is almost impossible to make a case for aviation especially when you add on the environmental issues.
The business community would have to be enormous to support an airfield on those grounds, and the simple truth is no one wants to pay what ir really costs.
Look at the history of recent companies that have tried to operate in the field of small turboprops, and the truth is they never made any money in normal business terms. The shere cost of operating a public transport system that has to adhere to all the relevant regulations is eye watering, and then you add on the 'penalties' for delays or issues and it has no cogent business model. An airfield in a built up area will always be a target for 'development' and as only a fraction of the local population use them it is very easy to put the case for housing.
In the case of Plymouth its use was boosted by the local Naval base, and a resident Dartmouth flying operation. When these 'customers' departed it put all the costs on to the local airline operator who also had to fund the substantial 'fire and rescue element' which is both mandatory and expensive but which no passengers would pay for. Unless a Government decides that all public transport in the UK should be 'encouraged' for the benefit of the population the 'facilities' that do exist will continue to be targeted by developers for short term gains.

A friend of mine used to use the Newquay Heathrow service when it was operated by a Viscount. He worked for an 'industrial group' in Cornwall and would say to me that the usual pax load was about 40-50% company group related .
In those days RAF St Mawgan operated the airfield and all its services..That industrial group is now long gone, (similar to the Plymouth area) and the RAF no longer operate the airfield. Newquay airport (now owned by Cornwall Council) operates at a ongoing loss, plus has just lost its largest customer, and Cornwall Council ratepayers want to know why they should pay !!!.

Last edited by POBJOY; 12th Jun 2020 at 12:09. Reason: content
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 16:06
  #48 (permalink)  
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To be fair, Air Southwest only went out of business because Gatwick put it's prices up and Flybe muscled in on the route (Which is what competition is all about) The PLY- NQY - LGW was one of the only routes making ASW money which leads to the question of did they put too much focus on the South West, or was their business model not viable long term?
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Old 12th Jun 2020, 23:15
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Adding my two pence, I would agree with Harry re the size of aircraft that would make sense ex PLH would be the DO228 or 328.

The 328 is a very nice machine with good performance and a large cabin that is superior to anything else offering 30 seats. I am fairly sure it also has a loo which is always appreciated by passengers, especially if they have just had a rushed connection from a long haul flight and didn't have time to use an airport loo. This would be my preferred option at first glance.
The 228 is a sliipery machine with a good hold for baggage, and the cabin is acceptable for 60-90 minutes travel.
Other outsiders, not in current production, are used Saab 340 or Jetstream 41, but I think these would be too costly to operate.

Thw Twotter served a good purpose, but it could take forever to complete PLH-LGW or return if there was a half decent headwind. I remember Roger Tribe, ex Brymon Twotter Captain and all round excellent guy, telling us at LGW of times when the passengers could look down and see cars overtaking them on the roads below! It wasn't unusual for a cabin crew to open the pax door and hand you a sick bag full of urine from a passenger who'd been caught short.

As for routes into London and which airport, sadly the long hail connections from LGW look to have taken a hammering thanks to Covid-19. Virgin, Norwegian Air UK and BA have all pulled out, making a huge hole in routes to feed onto. Perhaps a new operation could do deals with easyJet or similar to offer connections? LHR is possibly an option, but they haven't been welcoming of small config aircraft in recent years. LCY doesn't offer connections, and I see little reason in flying past London to get to SEN, STN or LTN.

Perhaps routes to destinations of around 90 minutes on mainland Europe and Ireland would be better?

I have only good memories of dealing with Brymon crew and Ops, and I know the JD referred to earlier, and I get the feeling I might know Harry as well.

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Old 13th Jun 2020, 03:06
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Originally Posted by POBJOY View Post
The business community would have to be enormous to support an airfield on those grounds, and the simple truth is no one wants to pay what ir really costs.

Look at the history of recent companies that have tried to operate in the field of small turboprops, and the truth is they never made any money in normal business terms.

In the case of Plymouth its use was boosted by the local Naval base, and a resident Dartmouth flying operation. When these 'customers' departed it put all the costs on to the local airline operator who also had to fund the substantial 'fire and rescue element' which is both mandatory and expensive but which no passengers would pay for.

A friend of mine used to use the Newquay Heathrow service when it was operated by a Viscount. He worked for an 'industrial group' in Cornwall and would say to me that the usual pax load was about 40-50% company group related .
In those days RAF St Mawgan operated the airfield and all its services..That industrial group is now long gone, (similar to the Plymouth area) and the RAF no longer operate the airfield. Newquay airport (now owned by Cornwall Council) operates at a ongoing loss, plus has just lost its largest customer, and Cornwall Council ratepayers want to know why they should pay !!!.
There is a previous poster in this thread who has more recently active in the NQY airport thread making suggestion that Cornwall and/or the south-west peninsula is dependant upon tourism, at least to some degree he is right, whilst PLH, with the right size of aircraft, did quite nicely from business travellers it did very nicely from leisure travellers also.



Just small turboprops don't make any money, you mean that larger aircraft operators such as Monarch, Flybe, Virgin Atlantic, Air Berlin, BMI and BMIr, FlyGlobeSpan, Sky Europe, Swissair, Alitalia, Sabena, Cyprus Airways etc. etc. etc. have done so much better because they are/were operating larger aircraft?


Boosted by the local naval base Ö Not significantly, Devonport isn't a flying naval base, of one weekend per year PLH would acquire a resident Sea Harrier and chopper in/out for displays, I seem to recall that the Sea Heron visitor was based at Yeovilton, or was that Lee-On-Solent, watching that getting airborne off the old runway 06/24 could be interesting, besides that PLH had a few based Sea Chipmunks but other than that it was passing traffic to/from Culdrose and Culdrose is still there.



The required fire & rescue category depends upon the size and frequency of the aircraft and their movements, I recall PLH being just one full size crash wagon with along with a Land Rover, that was for 50 seaters, for maximum 32 seaters it may be less of a requirement and should an adhoc operator wish to put a larger aircraft thru there then they pay a surcharge for the local fire service attending to temporarily increase the category.



Regarding NQY, well as per my previous example of CAL, CAL had the opportunity to lease, operate and maintain a 10,000' runway but recognised that for small turboprops a 6,000' runway would be more than enough thus, quite literally, CAL airport consists of reduced length runway and taxiway and a modest terminal facility.



Compared to NQY which has retained a full length 9,000' runway and mega real estate that is NEVER going to make any money but even if they reduce the usable length of runway and whilst reducing operating costs it is difficult to envisage what they would do with the vacant land, alas RAF St. Mawgan remains a functional station but perhaps if/when that may close they may transform it in to an industrial estate, holiday camp or whatever and sell off some of the airfield at the same time.
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Old 13th Jun 2020, 03:13
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by airsouthwest View Post
To be fair, Air Southwest only went out of business because Gatwick put it's prices up and Flybe muscled in on the route (Which is what competition is all about) The PLY- NQY - LGW was one of the only routes making ASW money which leads to the question of did they put too much focus on the South West, or was their business model not viable long term?
ASW was owned by the same people that had already sold off part of PLH airport and had decided that there was more money to be made from real estate than aviation, ASW was put up for sale and a del was done with Eastern to take it over and to shut it down as quickly as they possibly could whilst the ex owners had already decided that Plymouth had no future in aviation and already closed the airport.

That is along with operating an aircraft type that was way oversized to serve the local market.
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Old 13th Jun 2020, 07:38
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by surely not View Post
Adding my two pence, I would agree with Harry re the size of aircraft that would make sense ex PLH would be the DO228 or 328.

The 328 is a very nice machine with good performance and a large cabin that is superior to anything else offering 30 seats. I am fairly sure it also has a loo which is always appreciated by passengers, especially if they have just had a rushed connection from a long haul flight and didn't have time to use an airport loo. This would be my preferred option at first glance.
The 228 is a sliipery machine with a good hold for baggage, and the cabin is acceptable for 60-90 minutes travel.
Other outsiders, not in current production, are used Saab 340 or Jetstream 41, but I think these would be too costly to operate.

Thw Twotter served a good purpose, but it could take forever to complete PLH-LGW or return if there was a half decent headwind. I remember Roger Tribe, ex Brymon Twotter Captain and all round excellent guy, telling us at LGW of times when the passengers could look down and see cars overtaking them on the roads below! It wasn't unusual for a cabin crew to open the pax door and hand you a sick bag full of urine from a passenger who'd been caught short.

As for routes into London and which airport, sadly the long hail connections from LGW look to have taken a hammering thanks to Covid-19. Virgin, Norwegian Air UK and BA have all pulled out, making a huge hole in routes to feed onto. Perhaps a new operation could do deals with easyJet or similar to offer connections? LHR is possibly an option, but they haven't been welcoming of small config aircraft in recent years. LCY doesn't offer connections, and I see little reason in flying past London to get to SEN, STN or LTN.

Perhaps routes to destinations of around 90 minutes on mainland Europe and Ireland would be better?

I have only good memories of dealing with Brymon crew and Ops, and I know the JD referred to earlier, and I get the feeling I might know Harry as well.
Not forgetting the EMB120 if only Embraer were as interested in turboprops as they are in jets!

We agree regarding the Twotter, I thing the Captain was actually Roger when I was occupying the RHS into LGW with a strong headwind, it took forever and a day just to get over the old car park H, the staff car park in those days.

I think LTN would be workable, anything within a 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock within striking distance of London would be OK and I recall that LTN to/from LHR isn't so far by NE coach along with being on a main line railway.
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Old 13th Jun 2020, 22:39
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Not forgetting the EMB120 if only Embraer were as interested in turboprops as they are in jets!

We agree regarding the Twotter, I thing the Captain was actually Roger when I was occupying the RHS into LGW with a strong headwind, it took forever and a day just to get over the old car park H, the staff car park in those days.

I think LTN would be workable, anything within a 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock within striking distance of London would be OK and I recall that LTN to/from LHR isn't so far by NE coach along with being on a main line railway.
I had forgotten the EMB120. I went on a demo flight from LGW to Oxford Kidlington and return when Embraer was trying to break into the UK Commuter airlines based on its success with the Bandit. Capt Ray Burtenshaw, then of Connectair, now sadly passed on, was sitting in the RHS and he reckoned the landing at Oxford was the most frightening he'd been involved in. Apparently the Brazilian pilot was cussing and swearing about the aircraft all the way until we were on stand at Oxford!! It has good performance and a good sized baggage hold.

Whilst I cannot comment on the passenger make up on LHR flights, into LGW from memory I would say that 60% of the passengers from PLH were transferring onto/from Longhaul flights. Of the other passengers there were a good few regulars who were going to London.

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Old 14th Jun 2020, 07:22
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None of the aircraft suggested - Do 228, 328 or EMB120- are still in production or have been in production for years. There's a reason for that................ airlines can't make money operating them any longer
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 07:51
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
None of the aircraft suggested - Do 228, 328 or EMB120- are still in production or have been in production for years. There's a reason for that................ airlines can't make money operating them any longer
Which cavity of your body are you speaking from? ... The Do228, a 'NG' variant of, try checking what aircraft types Aurigny are currently operating, remains in production whilst a corporation appear to have secured a deal with the German government to recommence production of a modern day variant of the Do328 ... and nobody has suggested that the EMB120 is still in production!
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Old 14th Jun 2020, 17:22
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You are correct - apologies - but they don't seem to have sold many? Other than the ones to the IAF?
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Old 15th Jun 2020, 04:12
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
You are correct - apologies - but they don't seem to have sold many? Other than the ones to the IAF?
There are two differnt manufacturers, HAL (Do228-200) and RUAG (Do228NG), of the Do228 and combined the type sells rather well but RUAG are only set-up for manufacturing a handful of aircraft per year and Aurigny had to join the waitlist for theirs.

String of orders for HAL's Dornier 228
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 11:42
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Plymouth closed for a reason and itís never coming back. It wasnít, and isnít, commercially viable.

Anyone going long-haul from these parts gets a coach to LHR or LGW and stays in a hotel or with friends of family the night before. Most going to Europe get the Falcon coach to Bristol or drive there.

Just before covid-19 hit the rail service had been improved with a new timetable on GWR as the new IEPs have bedded in. Anyone going London-way (and who can afford it) uses the train. The rest drive, if they have a car.

That one or two small ĒcommuterlineĒ are built a year tells you about that market. Running an airline costs more these days ó better safety, more expensive fuel. Little planes are now only economic when theyíre the only choice e.g. ISC, Nepal.
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Old 16th Jun 2020, 13:43
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Originally Posted by medod View Post
Little planes are now only economic when theyíre the only choice e.g. ISC, Nepal.
I guess then best you don't mention that to Regional Express as they operate a fleet of some 57 'little planes'!
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