FlyBe, based at Exeter, Devon, in the UK is Europe’s largest regional airline. It was born as Jersey European Airways out of a merger between Jersey, Channel Islands-based Intra Airways and Bournemouth, UK-based Express Air Services in November, 1979, and established a network of services out of the Channel Islands, mainly to other UK points.
In June 2000, the airline cheekily renamed itself ‘British European’, using the ex-British European Airways (BEA – now British Airways) flight prefix code ‘BE’, rebranding as ‘FlyBe’ in July, 2002. In November 2006, FlyBe expanded again by buying the British Airways’ regional group, ‘BA Connect’ (apart from their services out of London City Airport, which are operated by BA CityFlyer), with part of the payment to BA being a 15% stock transfer.
At the start of 2008, FlyBe signed a franchise agreement with Scottish-based airline Loganair. This agreement became effective when their franchise agreement with British Airways was terminated the following October. Loganair’s aircraft now operate in FlyBe’s colors on over 50 routes out of Scottish airports including the ‘Highlands & Islands’ services.
In October 2011, FlyBe took over the Finnish regional, FinnComm Airlines, renaming it FlyBe Nordic. They also signed a commercial agreement with Finnair to operate local and regional services as a Finnair franchisee, as well as operating flights under their own ‘BE’ flight code. More recently, FlyBe Nordic have taken over the operation of Finnair’s Embraer 190 fleet which continues to operate in Finnair livery with additional small ‘Operated by FlyBe Nordic’ titles.
In March this year, FlyBe decided to ‘refresh’ the brand and have repainted their first Bombardier Dash 8Q-400 in the new purple livery. I sort of like it, I think! It’s VERY purple and I wonder how good it will look in a couple of years when it’s weathered and faded. FlyBe’s current fleet consists of around 40 Bombardier Dash 8Q-400s, 11 Embraer E-175s and 13 Embraer E-195s, although the E-195s are being progressively withdrawn and stored during 2014.
This post was written by Ken Fielding for AirlineReporter. Ken was born and raised in Liverpool in the UK and currently lives in Manchester, UK. He’s been an AvGeek since childhood and spent 43 years working in the airline business in Airport Services, Operations, Reservations, Sales and Ticketing, retiring in 2005. He’s been taking color photos of aircraft since the early 1960’s and has an extensive collection of over 11,000 images on his Flickr page which is just approaching its ‘millionth hit’.