G-FBJH E-175 in the current livery at Birmingham, UK. Notice the Biman DC-10 in the background – Photo: Ken Fielding
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.
FlyBe Bombardier Q400 landing in Frankfurt.
I really enjoy this livery. It is light, easy and gets the job done. Although I like the concept of the name going up on the tail, I don’t think the execution fully works out since you mostly only see the “be” from a distance — maybe that was the plan.
The airline was founded in 1979, but was known as “Jersey European Airways.” The airline changed its name to “British European” and held that name for only about two years, when it changed its name again to “Flyby” in 2002. It is a low cost airline currently only flying the Bombardier Dash 8 (56 in the fleet) and the Embraer E-195 (14 in the fleet). The airline has orders for 35 Embraer E-175s. They serve destinations in the United Kingdom, Ireland and around Europe.
One of the more amusing things I have seen an airline do, Flybe tried to hire actors to pose as passengers in an attempt to avoid a £280,000 (about $450,000) fine for having empty seats in 2008. The airline had an agreement to fly 70,000 passengers from Norwich per year. Although the overall goal was being met with 136,000 passengers flown, they were falling short on the Norwich to Dublin route. They only needed 172 additional passengers and in the end did not even need to use the actors. Although very creative, I am not sure that was the intent during the contract negotiations. I would have loved to be the fly on the wall during that meeting. “Hear me out here people. We need 172 more passengers, why don’t we just pay actors to take a few flights and we have it.” Well, Flybe, if that ever happens again, ask me — I am sure I can find a few readers who would be willing to fly for free.
Source: BBC Image: Thomas Becker