Flybe to operate new Exeter-Norwich ‘one hour’ service

Flybe, the UK-based regional airline, has announced a new ‘one hour’ service between the Exeter and Norwich airports – the first route to be operated under the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund.

The new route is part of the airline’s 2016 Summer schedule, with a choice of six flights a week, operating daily excluding on Saturdays. The new route will be effective for travel from March 24 to October 28, 2016. Seats are on sale now at www.flybe.com with one way fares from £17.49 including taxes and charges, it said.

Commenting on the new service, UK Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill said: ‘It is fantastic to see Flybe launch this new direct air service between Norwich and Exeter, offering significant journey time savings for passengers when it begins operations in time for Easter. Our smaller airports are vital engines for local economies, connecting the UK and opening up opportunities. That is why the Government is backing new regional air routes to drive investment and boost growth across the country.’

Vincent Hodder, Flybe’s Chief Revenue Officer added: ‘We are delighted to be the first airline to announce details of one of the many routes to be funded under the Government’s Regional Air Connectivity Fund. Our new service between Exeter and Norwich is a great example of how Flybe connects the UK regions, supporting local communities and businesses.

‘Our new direct cross-country route will take just 70 minutes, saving customers precious time by offering them the favourable option of not having to endure between five and seven long hours in a car or train.’

With the new service, Flybe’s 2016 Summer schedule from Exeter now includes a total of 18 routes offering a choice of up to 122 flights a week; and from Norwich, four routes offering up to 12 flights a week.

Separately, Flybe said that its day- return flights to Rotterdam from Manchester have been well received by both business and leisure passengers, benefitting from the low introductory fares.

Offering up to two flights a day during the week, the new Manchester-Rotterdam route will start operation on February 8, 2016. A limited number of one way fares are available at £19.99 for travel during the first week of operation, the airline said.

Flybe announces winter schedule from Exeter, expands services from Newquay

Flybe, the UK-based leading regional airlines, has announced its new 2015-16 winter schedule to and from Exeter. The airline also announced an agreement with Emirates offering expanded services from Newquay Airport, reports said.

The winter schedule for Exeter includes 12 routes with a choice of up to 158 flights a week available for travel between October 25, 2015 and March 26, 2016. Towards meeting passenger demand, the airline has also announced a re-scheduling of the return evening flight from London City that will depart at 1725, arriving in Exeter at 1835.

The airline has also confirmed the extension of its summer sun routes to Alicante, Faro and Malaga until November 1, 2015, and the return of popular Saturday ski routes to Chambery and Geneva.

In addition, following a new codeshare agreement between Flybe and Emirates, passengers at Newquay Airport will now be able to travel to 145 destinations across six continents in 84 countries on a single ticket.

Al Titterington, managing director, Newquay Cornwall Airport, said: ‘This new codeshare agreement between Flybe and Emirates will provide passengers in Cornwall with the freedom to travel anywhere on the Emirates global network at the click of a button and is another exciting development in the continued growth of Newquay Cornwall Airport.’

Laurie Berryman, Emirates vice president, UK, said: ‘Our new codeshare agreement with Flybe will provide passengers in Newquay with increased choice, flexibility and ease of connection to Dubai and on bound to destinations on Emirates’ global network.

‘Offering a smoother, more convenient travel experience, it will also make travel into Newquay more accessible for international tourists and open up the delights of the town and wider region to more people around the world.’

Passengers will be able to check their bags at Newquay and not have to collect them until their final destination. Flybe’s current schedule from Newquay will allow passengers to connect to five Emirates services departing daily from airports across the UK including Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick.

Optimism over Exeter Airport sale

Exeter Airport in Devon, UK, has been sold to Patriot Aerospace, a division of Rigby Group Plc.

The value of the deal, which will see ownership of the airport transfer from multi-national infrastructure group, Balfour Beatty, has not been disclosed, but the airport’s managing director, Matt Roach, speaking on behalf of the 305 workers employed by the airport, said that the sale was a ‘really positive development.’

The Rigby Group, headed by its chairman, Sir Peter Rigby, already has aviation interests with British International Helicopters, a helicopter operator with 25 aircraft and 100 employees, based in Newquay, Cornwall, UK, and a part ownership of Coventry Airport in the West Midlands.

Belfour Beatty had owned its 60 percent stake in Exeter Airport since its purchase from Devon County Council for £60 million in 2007. Galaxy, a fund comprising French and Italian investors and the European Commission, owns the remaining stake in the airport.

Matt Roach said, ‘There’s been a lot of speculation recently and this shows the airport has a viable future. We have a new owner that believes in the success of the airport, and for the staff that’s really positive. The Rigby Group have a passion for aviation so it’s a really good partnership to build on the existing strengths of the airport and further develop it in the future.’

Sir Peter Rigby said, ‘We believe in the importance of regional airports and of their value to the local and regional communities and of their important contribution and place in the local economies. We are intent on developing our aviation business within the Rigby Group and we have made a significant acquisition here, and recently with the acquisition of British International Helicopters in the course of the last month or so.

‘We now intend to consolidate both of these opportunities with a view to being a leading group in the sectors of regional airports and helicopter operations. Approximately 450 jobs are now sustained in our aerospace activities.’

British low-cost regional airline, Flybe employs 900 people at the airport and is its major carrier. Flybe’s managing director Andrew Strong, said, ‘Flybe welcomes the sale of Exeter airport to the Rigby Group Plc and looks forward to working with the new owners to develop services from Exeter and improve the passenger experience at the airport. Given the recent fare increases at Bristol Airport, Exeter should be able to capitalise on its position as the premier airport in the South West and the next few years at the airport look set to be an exciting period.’

 

Flybe receives boost from Six Nations Rugby tournament

Flybe, a low-cost regional airline group based in Exeter, Devon, UK, has announced an increase in sales for the six-week period of the Six Nations Rugby tournament.

Additional charters that the company has laid on for the tournament have proved popular, and it has also seen an improved uptake for its upgraded domestic services. Flybe also gained a notable PR coup when it was selected by the England rugby team for their return journey from the match in Ireland last weekend.

Fans from the four home nation teams benefit particularly from Flybe’s extensive domestic route network. When the Scottish team plays Ireland at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Sunday February 24, the airline is operating 16 flights between Dublin and the Scottish capital, some using larger aircraft, and a sell out is expected.

Another match at Murrayfield, this time against the Welsh team on Saturday March 9, has seen tickets selling so well for Flybe’s flights from Cardiff to Edinburgh that two additional flights have been added to the airline’s schedule, and six flights to Edinburgh from Birmingham have also seen brisk ticket sales.

Andrew Strong, the MD of Flybe UK said, ‘One of the secrets of Flybe’s successful business model is our ability to react quickly to our customers’ needs. When the Six Nations fixture list was published, we knew that there would be increased demand on certain of our routes and we acted swiftly to meet that need both instantly and again this week by increasing capacity yet further due to passenger demand for affordable and convenient travel to the matches.’

Head to Devon for Exeter Festival

Devon will be playing host to the Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink once again from April 13th to 15th this year.

To be held at Northernhay Gardens and Exeter Castle Courtyard, the annual event is designed to showcase the quality and variety of produce in south-west England, allowing visitors to meet and buy from local growers and sellers.

High-profile chefs, led by master cook Michael Caines, will be showing off tips and tricks at the festival’s cookery theatre, with the likes of James Nathan, Mat Follas and Jackie Kearney to be in attendance.

After Dark Parties will take place on both the Friday and Saturday, offering live music performances, food stalls and real ale and cider to drink, while Little Cookies events will also be available to help children learn some basic culinary skills.

The festivities run from 10:00 to 18:00 BST on the Friday and Saturday, with Sunday’s events wrapping up an hour earlier.

Day tickets cost £7.50 for adults, £1 for those under 16 and are free for under-fives, while entry to the After Dark parties requires a separate payment of £7 at the door or £5 if booked in advance.

Gourmands can find all manner of last minute hotels in the area at LateRooms.com, including the Acorn Lodge in Torquay.

Further details on the event can be found at www.exeterfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.