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Flybe Finland – an aviation success story born out of SW England

01 November 2012

Europe’s largest regional airline spawns a major player in the Nordic & Baltic region by turning around ailing airline in record time and creating positive knock-on effect in Exeter

We had set a goal of doubling the size of the airline in five years. We achieved it in 15 months.” … Mike Rutter, Flybe Europe MD

EXETER-based Flybe’s Europe operation in northern climes has quite literally taken off with Flybe Finland having achieved its goal of becoming the largest regional airline in the Baltic and Nordic region, both in terms of the number of aircraft it operates and by the number of local staff employed in Finland, in record time – having only entered the Finnish aviation market a mere 15 months’ ago. 

But it’s not just good news for the Finnish economy. Its success is shared by those working for Flybe in Exeter, too, where the new operation is creating and sustaining the maintenance engineering and administrative functions necessary to support the Flybe Finland operation.

In the latest key milestone in its history, the airline has also just welcomed into its Helsinki-based  fleet an additional 12 Embraer 190 jet aircraft and their crew through a new long term contract flying secured with Finnair, as a result doubling the size of its fleet; and operating as an affiliate member of oneworld®, the leading quality global airline alliance, on selected routes it operates on behalf of alliance member, Finnair, to destinations in Europe that include  Budapest, Manchester, Munich and Warsaw.

This South West success story began only last year when Flybe jointly acquired the ailing Finnish Commuter Airlines (Finncomm) in a 60-40% partnership with Finnair, Finland’s national airline.*


Now, just 15 months later, at the start of the 2012-13 Winter flying programme, it:

  • Has doubled the size of its aircraft fleet to 28
  • Has flown over 1-million passengers
  • Operates 13 own-flown commercial routes throughout the Baltic and Nordic region to Denmark, Estonia and Norway
  • Has concluded a major contract flying deal with Finnair that currently incorporates up to 30 selected domestic and  European routes
  • Has 683 employees based in Helsinki Vantaa and Seinäjoki (161 pilots; 236 cabin crew; 82 back office; 76 engineers; and 128 Finnair pilots under contract flying)
  • Has an average punctuality record of over 94% over the past six months

In replicating the tried and tested Flybe UK model it was always Flybe Finland’s intention to take a brand new era of affordable travel choices successfully to the region and make regional air travel more affordable and accessible than ever before, not only in Finland but throughout the region as a whole.  This it has achieved with a determination that has resulted in its now becoming the largest regional airline in the area far faster than originally forecast.

Mike Rutter, Flybe Europe MD says: “As the 2012-13 Winter flying schedule took off in the UK last weekend, our Flybe Finland team realised its stated ambition of becoming the largest regional airline in the Nordic and Baltic region. We had set a goal of doubling the size of the airline in five years. We achieved it in 15 months.

“When Flybe expanded into the Baltic and Nordic regions in 2011 we did so because we identified exciting opportunities for growth in a marketplace which suited our proven business model well. The scale of our operation as it stands today demonstrates Flybe’s ability to deliver.

He continues: “The Flybe brand, that this year celebrates its 10th year in the UK, has now become quickly established throughout the Nordic and Baltic region. Through delivering on our commitment to always supporting the regional economies and contributing to the local communities in which we operate, I am proud that we are now recognised as the airline of choice for both leisure and business travel.

“I firmly believe our expanded cooperation with our joint venture partners, Finnair, will continue to prove a positive way forward for aviation in the Scandinavian region. It gives positive credence to the company being well positioned to expand further that would include offering similar services to other airlines in the region.”


*Flybe Finland is wholly owned by Flybe Nordic, a joint venture between Finnair and Flybe, Europe’s leading regional airline.  Flybe owns 60% and Finnair owns 40% of Flybe Nordic


For further press information, or to arrange an interview, please contact the Flybe press office:T: 0845 675 0681   E: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

  • Flybe is Europe's largest regional airline with 181 routes serving 17 countries, operating from a total of 84 departure points, 35 UK and 49 European airports* (all routes on sale Oct ’12 – July ‘13)
  • Flybe operates more UK domestic flights than any other airline and more domestic flights at London Gatwick than any other airline * (UKCAA statistics  Sep ‘11 – Aug ‘12)
  • 2012 Awards:  Travel Agents’ Choice ‘Airline of the Year UK & Ireland: ‘Best UK Domestic Airline’ Award Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards
  • Flybe was listed on the London Stock Exchange in December 2010
  • In August 2011, Flybe jointly acquired Finnish Commuter Airlines (Finncomm) in a 60-40% partnership with Finnair
  • Flybe concluded major codeshare agreement with Air France in July 2010
  • Flybe placed a multi-billion dollar order with Embraer in July 2010 for up to 140 Embraer 175 and E-family aircraft, the first deliveries having arrived in December 2011.
  • Flybe is the largest scheduled airline, measured by air traffic movements, at Belfast City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, the Isle of Man, Inverness, Jersey, Manchester, Newquay and Southampton airports (UK CAA statistics – Aug  ‘12)
  • Flybe’s Training Academy in Exeter, costing £11.9-million to construct, was officially opened by Rt. Hon George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer April  2011
  • Flybe launched the aviation industry’s first ever eco labelling scheme in 2007
  • Flybe signed a landmark franchise Agreement with Loganair, the Scottish regional airline, in January 2008– the first of its kind ever for a low cost carrier

* Flown under the Flybe brand, of which 30 routes and 11 airports are exclusively served by Flybe’s franchise partner, Loganair