UK regional airlines: reborn Flybe will find a changed landscape

Premium Analysis

Two recent developments cast the spotlight on UK regional airlines (including the Channel Islands). These are an agreement in principle to a codeshare between Blue Islands and Aurigny Air Services, and an announcement that Flybe plans to relaunch this summer.

According to the CAPA Fleet Database, UK regional airlines have a total fleet of 107 passenger aircraft as at 27-Apr-2021 - only 12% of the overall total of 774 passenger aircraft. Regional airlines' share of UK fleet seats is even lower, at just 4%.

Nevertheless, regional operators have a higher share of their fleet in service (65%) than other airlines (47%), and reduced their active fleet less drastically in the first lockdown.

UK regional airlines' focus on domestic routes has helped them in the crisis, as has Flybe's bankruptcy at the start of the pandemic.

Flybe will find a changed regional airline landscape - codeshares have also begun between Blue Islands and Loganair, and between Eastern Airways and Aurigny Air Services, all of whom have entered previous Flybe routes - but its plans are a reminder of the dynamism in this sector.

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