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Published on Thursday, November 14, 2019

Flybe to ditch Southampton summer routes

Flybe, rebranding as Virgin Connect next year, has scrapped eight summer routes from Southampton, plus Dusseldorf flights, in a blow to the regional airport.

Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro, Biarritz, Nantes, Bordeaux and Bastia in Corsica will not operate in summer 2020.

Southampton airport said the decision reflects the need for it to have a longer runway so it can accept a wider range of aircraft. It recently submitted plans to extend its runway.

A spokesman for Flybe said it understands the disappointment of some leisure customers about the decision but said it wants to better serve its frequent fliers, including business travellers and those visiting friends and family.

"This has included adjusting the timings on some of our existing flights and removing a number of unprofitable sun routes and French regional services, such as the nine from Southmampton, which last summer did not meet expected demand." 

While Southampton services have been reduced, Flybe is adding seven new routes from London Southend and one from Manchester.

It will launch flights for the first time from Southend to Belfast City, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Isle of Man and Jersey. It already flies from Southend to Caen, Groningen, Newquay and Rennes.

It is also introducing flights from Manchester to Stuttgart.

Seats will go on sale this week for Flybe's 2,500 flights a week across the UK and regional mainland Europe next summer.

Additional summer routes will be announced shortly, it said.

Southend Airport is owned by the Stobart Group, one of its new co-owners. It will offer 214 flights a week on 10 routes from the London airport.

The Southend flights will be operated by three of Flybe's own 78-seat De-Havilland Q400 turboprops based in Belfast City, Edinburgh and Glasgow alongside two 70-seat ATR aircraft based at Southend.

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