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Flybe. Part 1: The market addresses gap left by UK regional airline

In the immediate aftermath of Flybe's bankruptcy, LCCs Ryanair and easyJet and the regional airline Blue Islands have offered 'rescue fares' for certain Flybe routes over a limited period. These offers are confined to routes already operated by those airlines and are essentially short term promotional efforts.

Nevertheless, there have also already been moves by airlines to add routes previously operated by Flybe to their networks. Regional operators Loganair, Eastern Airways, Blue Islands and Aurigny Air Services have agreed to operate 27 former Flybe routes between them (of which 26 were Flybe monopolies).

Flybe was the biggest airline in the domestic UK regional market, often the only airline on its routes.

However, although it had little airline competition, there was considerable surface transport competition. Where there is a genuine commercial opportunity (and given time), it seems likely that more Flybe routes will be assumed by other more efficient regional airlines. The UK government could help the market in filling the gap, for example through changes to air passenger duty or increasing the number of PSO subsidies.

However, Flybe's demise again leaves Virgin Atlantic without a domestic feeder partner.

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