Flybe celebrates 6th anniversary of regional hub
It is six years since Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, became the first independent carrier in the UK to create a regional network hub through which customers could benefit from additional regional point to point connections via Manchester Airport.
To mark the anniversary, Flybe CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener and senior management colleagues were joined by Stephen Turner, Manchester Airport’s Commercial Director at a special event that included a cake cutting ceremony together with a suitably romantic ‘fun’ element featuring Lola the labradoodle dog who spread some additional love by offering travellers purple roses as they arrived at the airport.
Flybe operates 17,500 regional movements a year at Manchester where it is the airport’s largest scheduled carrier and where it has been an integral player for over 13 years. In 2012, the airline committed to better serving its passengers with improved connectivity. So it set about adjusting its domestic schedules and, with the airport’s help to streamline processes, reduced minimum connection times to as little as 35 minutes. By way of example, a passenger wanting to travel to Aberdeen from Southampton, has a choice of up to four connecting flights a day via Manchester – with a total point to point travel time of just three hours! By rail, this would take 10 hours with three station changes.
Flybe’s Manchester hub has proved of particular benefit not only to those travelling on the airline’s own network, but, just as importantly, created additional opportunities for connections to global destinations offered with many of Flybe’s codeshare partners operating out of Manchester to locations including Abu Dhabi, Chicago, and Toronto.
Its value received an additional boost recently with the announcement by Virgin Atlantic to increase its codeshare agreement with Flybe at Manchester. Now, Scottish travellers have more access to the USA and the Caribbean than ever before, taking advantage of Flybe’s route between Manchester and Glasgow. This has opened up all of Virgin Atlantic’s seven Manchester routes to customers travelling from the Scottish city for the first time that are currently Atlanta, Barbados, Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and San Francisco.
Ms Ourmières-Widener commented: “We operate more flights to and from Manchester than any other scheduled carrier and it is our largest base. Flybe is always looking at innovative ways to improve our services and be even closer to our customers so today was the perfect day to celebrate the sixth year anniversary of our hub operation here, show our ongoing commitment to our customers and to the airport by tapping into the spirit of Valentine’s Day.”
Stephen Turner, Commercial Director at Manchester Airport, said: “We are delighted to celebrate Flybe’s anniversary here today at Manchester Airport. “Flybe offers great domestic destinations here in the UK from Manchester, connecting the North West to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the South West.
“Furthermore, through the airline’s many codeshares with our long-haul carriers, we really are the global gateway in the North for the 22m people who live in our catchment area. We look forward to continuing to grow with Flybe and provide options for all our passengers whether they want to travel from Belfast to Beijing or Southampton to Seattle.”
Isle of Man, Online Regional Travel Group’s CEO Simon Goddard comments: “In business it pays to make the right connection. The vast array of onward connections offered from Manchester with many of the leading global airlines, means our business and leisure travellers have stress free journeys to the destination of their choice every time. With Flybe’s choice of up to five flights daily from the Isle of Man, Manchester is the most convenient UK hub for islanders and is of significant importance to our clients.”
Glasgow-based Richard Nicol, Supplier Relations Manager with Clyde Travel Management is also a fan of Flybe’s Manchester hub. “Manchester Airport is now a well-established international gateway with numerous direct services to worldwide destinations. Over the past six years, Flybe has played a major role in this achievement by investing in strategical links throughout the UK offering consumers an attractive option to Manchester and beyond with seamless connections via their long haul partners. Flybe’s significant investment since 2012 has better connected regional areas of the UK while offering travellers a short cut to the world.”