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23 July 2012

Double celebration for Flybe at Exeter Airport

Leading regional airline marks tenth anniversary of changed business model with 10% ticket sale on selected routes and welcomes its 5-millionth passenger at South West airport

2012 is a significant year for Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, as it not only celebrates the tenth anniversary since its changed business model transformed the then 23-year old airline, into Flybe but also its five millionth passenger at Exeter International Airport during that time.

To mark the milestones, it is offering 10% off bookings made before midnight on July 25th for travel through to October 25th on a selection of popular routes that include a number of destinations available from Exeter and through its popular Manchester hub; and this morning surprised Ms Helen Preston from Sidbury travelling on the morning flight to Malaga with champagne and free tickets as its five millionth passenger. Ms Preston and her family were greeted as they checked in by Simon Lilley, Flybe’s Director of Marketing and Matt Roach, Exeter Airport’s Managing Director.

Over the past ten years, the airline has prospered and grown despite the continued tough economic challenges faced by the aviation industry. Flybe operates more UK domestic flights than any other carrier and is the leading airline at 12 UK airports,. It has also grown to incorporate, under the Flybe Group umbrella, Flybe Aviation Support that comprises its globally-respected Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul division, and the Flybe Training Academy.

At Exeter Airport, Flybe’s passenger number have experienced a massive 499% increase over the last ten years and from just four routes offered to Belfast City, Jersey, Guernsey and Dublin it now gives travellers a choice of up to 22  key routes with a total of up to 204 flights a week.

Other headline statistics supporting Flybe’s first decade of international growth are as follows:


                                       2002               2012
Routes                               44                  211
Aircraft                               31                  83
Airports served                  23                102
Countries served                 4                  18
Passengers                    2.2 million      7.6 million
Employees                    1,533               3,442

 
Mr Lilley said: “We are proud of our achievements and the role we play in contributing to the South West economy and in championing our local communities as one of the South West’s leading brands. In 2002, we created a bright modern brand to survive in a highly competitive and aggressive new low-cost travel era and made changes to commercial, fleet and operational policies to transform the airline. That work continues today and Flybe continues to be the innovative airline it always has been. 

“Most recently, we’ve expanded our business model into Finland through a joint venture with Finnair, achieved significant success with the performance of our Aviation Support business and overseen the arrival during the past year of the first seven of our firm order with Embraer for 34 E175 jets.”

In striving to continually evolve to meet the needs of its passengers, in March, Flybe became the first ever independent carrier in the UK to create a regional network hub from where travellers can now take advantage of many more improved onward connections, namely through Manchester International Airport.  And in April Flybe announced its first significant brand and product repositioning in ten years having listened to what its customers and the wider market had been telling the industry. Under the strapline ‘Making flying better’, Flybe has responded with a number of major new initiatives that will be rolled out throughout 2012 to positively differentiate it against some of the negative perceptions of low fare travel. Amongst the first of these was the dropping debit card charges for online bookings, a move that has received widespread acknowledgement.

Matt Roach, Exeter Airport Managing Director said: “It was a pleasure to mark the five millionth Flybe passenger for Exeter today. Ten years ago Flybe re-branded, changed their business model, brought new the routes to the airport; and as a result, Exeter saw a 70% increase in passenger numbers in the first year.

“Since then we have enjoyed a close working relationship with the airline and their route development has been very good news for the travellers of the South West. This has continued in 2012 with the advent of the Manchester hub concept which has brought connectivity to an ever increasing number of worldwide destinations from Exeter.”

“Adds Mr Lilley: “Flybe today is a business of real scale and substance and one that continues to demonstrate its resilience and innovation. We are proud not only of what we have achieved with a very stable workforce but also in having maintained our market leading positions which we look forward to strengthening even further over the next ten years.”