ATW Online; Wednesday 16 May 2018
Flybe confirms departure of Embraer E195 aircraft

UK-based regional Flybe will focus its fleet on the Bombardier Q400 turboprop for the foreseeable future, the airline said May 16. Flybe has confirmed plans to dispose of its nine Embraer E195s, which will leave the fleet by April 2020.

After reviewing regional aircraft options, the Exeter-based company has concluded the Q400 is the best core aircraft for its current and future needs.

Flybe has said for some years its fleet is too large and has been slowly slimming its inventory. Over the past year, the airline has handed back six older end-of-lease Q400s. With the planned handback of all the E195s, the overall fleet will shrink from its May 2017 peak of 85 to a target of around 70 by early 2020.

Explaining the decision to focus on the Canadian-built turboprop, Flybe said the Q400 is faster than other available aircraft in the category, with a performance close to jet aircraft over the relatively short sectors it operates. The turboprop design’s operating economics, including fuel efficiency, makes it cheaper to operate than similar-sized jet aircraft, and it has a much smaller noise footprint, the airline said.

Flybe will continue to operate its fleet of 11 E175 jets for longer or busier routes. The carrier will also go ahead with deliveries of what it described May 16 as a “heritage order” for four E175s scheduled to arrive in 2019. These will not be the new E2 model, but will be delivered with new winglet technology to help reduce fuel consumption.

“Apart from these, Flybe is not planning any additional new aircraft orders for the foreseeable future,” the airline said.

“Flybe’s strategy is to reduce the fleet size to an optimum level and make the business demand-driven rather than capacity-led,” CEO Christine Ourmičres-Widener said.

By: Alan Dron
NS Comment: Didn't know the Flybe fleet was as large as 85 aircraft!