ATW Online; Tuesday 17 September 2019
Flybe to close Isle of Man base

UK-based regional carrier Flybe will close its base on the Isle of Man and hand over services there to one of the companies that took it over earlier this year.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

“Following a thorough review of its future fleet and network plans, Flybe has announced changes to its Isle of Man operations to be completed through a phased and managed program by the start of summer 2020,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline, Europe’s largest regional operator, will withdraw its two De Havilland Dash 8-400s from the island, handing over operations to Stobart Air, one of the components of the Connect Airways consortium that earlier this year successfully bid to take over Exeter-based Flybe. Connect comprises Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital.

Stobart Air will operate a network of short-haul routes from the island to several UK regional airports, including Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, flying what Flybe described as the “more economically viable ATR 72-600.

“Stobart Air is a successful ATR operator and these shorter routes … are more suited to this type of aircraft.”

The first ATR is scheduled to enter service on Jan. 5, 2020, with a second arriving March 29 “when Stobart Air will assume full Isle of Man operations and continue to operate these routes.”

A daily Isle of Man–London Heathrow service, which was introduced as part of Flybe’s summer 2019 schedule, will cease at the end of the season, with the last flight on Oct. 26.

Flybe will boost the flight frequencies from Southampton, on the south coast of England, to both Paris Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Amsterdam Schiphol from Oct. 27. There will be one additional return flight each day on the Schiphol route and an additional return service on Monday and Friday to Paris CDG.

By: Alan Dron
NS Comment: The Rock continues to be well-served. I remember when Manx Air was in charge, later British Regional Airlines with ATPs and EMB-145s.