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Flybe will double in size in deal announced with Finnair

19 June 2012

Leading European airline contracts to fly12 Embraer E190 aircraft for Finnair that will create one of largest regional airlines in Nordic and Baltic States

Flybe Finland has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to fly 12 Embraer E190 regional jets on behalf of Finnair that will not only realise its goal to become one of the largest regional airlines in the Nordic and Baltic States region but also make it one of Finland’s major aviation employers.

Today’s announcement extends the partnership that exists between Flybe Finland and Finnair and expands further their areas of co-operation.  The MoU outlines a long term contract flying arrangement taking advantage of Flybe’s competitive cost base. Finnair will contract with Flybe to fly to a number of European short haul routes.

From October 28th 2012 onward, the number of aircraft flown by Flybe Finland will increase to 28, of which 70% will be dedicated to contract flying operations, meaning that the business will have doubled in size since it started operations in August 2011. This positions Flybe firmly in the realm of leading Finnish employers, committed to providing jobs for Finland and contributing to the overall economy of the country.

Mike Rutter, Managing Director of Flybe Europe, says: “Today is another major milestone for Flybe Finland and another major step in our journey of growth as we extend further our contract flying operations for Finnair. The extension of our contract flying business is a key part of Flybe Finland’s strategy, providing the business with a good balance of risk.

“Flybe Finland has been flying eight aircraft on a contract flying basis for Finnair since the start of our joint venture in August 2011.  I am therefore particularly pleased that the efficiency of these operations enhanced by the dedication of our staff has persuaded them to add another 12 aircraft to our contract flying partnership.”

“This move is a logical extension of our co-operation with Flybe,” comments Mika Vehviläinen, Finnair CEO. “The MoU covers approximately one third of Finnair’s European flights. Flybe offers us a cost efficient platform for operating this traffic and enables us to continue to offer the wide network and frequencies to both our regional customers as well as our customers flying between Europe and Finnair’s Asian destinations. We believe that, from the customer point view, the change will be virtually unnoticed as they will maintain the benefits of our extensive network in Europe and opportunity to exploit our fast Asian routes. We look forward this expansion of our co-operation with Flybe, which has proven its capabilities to run regional traffic efficiently.”

Since founding its partnership with Finnair just ten months ago, Flybe Finland has continued to pursue its stated goal of becoming the largest and most successful regional airline in the Nordic and Baltic States. During this time, the airline has expanded its operations from Finland to Denmark, Estonia, Norway and Sweden where, in the latter country, it has quickly established a growing presence at Stockholm’s city airport, Bromma.

Adds Mr Rutter: “The scale of Flybe Finland’s operation as a result of this deal will realise our goal of becoming the largest regional airline both in terms of the number of aircraft we operate and by the number of local staff we employ. It also further demonstrates our commitment to Finland, allowing us to reinforce our brand in the regions we serve.

“We look forward to working hard over the coming months to ensure that all the necessary cost structures and operational details are in place to continue meeting - and hopefully exceeding - the high expectations of quality service and reliability that Finnair’s passengers have come to expect.”