The agreement, announced to the London Stock Exchange this morning at 0700, is identical in design and implementation to its successful partnership with Greek airline, Olympic Air in 2009-10 and is the latest in a line of innovative utilisation of its fleet, highlighting Flybe’s ability to not only ride out the challenging economic environment but placing it in a position where it will emerge stronger and more competitive when the upturn arrives.
The wet lease arrangement runs from the beginning of the 2012 IATA summer season (March 25th) for a period of two years, at which point the aircraft will return to Flybe’s scheduled services. Based initially in Birmingham and Hannover, the Bombardier Q400 aircraft will serve core routes for the Belgian airline throughout Europe. The aircraft will carry the livery of Brussels Airlines but will operate under the Flybe Airline Operating Certificate (AOC), be crewed by Flybe pilots and cabin crew and maintained by Flybe engineers.
Commenting on the agreement, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim French said:
“The partnership with Brussels Airlines is an exciting development for Flybe and I am delighted to be working with such a respected European operator. It is another very important milestone in Flybe’s development and is further confirmation of our reputation as a quality provider of professional ‘turn-key’ solutions in the regional aviation market.”
“Brussels Airlines is 45% owned by Lufthansa Group, for whom Flybe already performs a significant amount of maintenance work on its regional fleet. Flybe’s independence has enabled it to enter into a range of commercial relationships with major airline groups such as Lufthansa, Air France/KLM, IAG and Finnair.”
“Over the past few years, we have been offered a number of opportunities to work with other European airlines but I am very clear that the deal has to be 100% right for Flybe. Given our successful experience of operating in Greece, I fully expect the partnership with Brussels Airlines not only to be a great success but also to pave the way for further partnerships as we seek to find innovative uses for our fleet at a time of economic challenge in our core UK market. It’s not the Flybe way to simply park our aircraft and wait for something to come along; we prefer to get out there and seek new and profitable opportunities.”