Flybe has said it will not be flying from Manston International Airport in Kent after March. The airline said it would cease operations there at the end of the winter season. Flybe launched its Manston to Edinburgh service in May 2010. Flybe spokesman Niall Duffy said:
“We tried different routes and the numbers simply weren’t there. It’s impossible to sustain routes without the passengers.
Unfortunately for the Manston services it was just impossible to look at those passenger numbers and think that we could sustain the kind of difficulties we were facing.
It is fair to say that Manston is one of the airports with the smaller catchment areas in the United Kingdom, and you have Gatwick not too far away.”
The airline said passengers booked on flights after March would be contacted by Flybe and offered a full refund or tickets on alternative flights.
BBC online 22nd Dec 2011
Flybe is axing its services between Kent International Airport and Edinburgh. The shock move, which takes effect from the end of the winter season on March 25, has been blamed on the tough economic climate. The Edinburgh service was regarded as Manston’s jewel in the crown.
The decision is a blow to Manston’s reputation which also suffered when Flybe axed its Manchester service because of weak passenger demand. Senior Kent figures have been promoting expansion at Manston rather than back controversial proposals for a hub airport on or off the Kent coast.
kentonline 22nd Dec 2011
Flybe will end its flights at Manston airport on March 25 and passengers who have already booked a flight on the summer schedule will either be fully refunded or booked onto a flight departing from another airport, the IoT Gazette reports. In a statement, Simon Lilley, Flybe’s director of marketing said:
“It is with regret that Flybe can confirm it will cease its operations from Manston International Airport with effect from the end of the winter season on March 25, 2012. Flybe carefully reviews the viability of all our 200-plus routes on a regular basis looking not only at passenger numbers but also at external cost pressures. This is done not only to monitor where we can offer increased regularity on a given route but also where passenger numbers make a flight uneconomic.
Our ongoing commitment to Manston has been reliant on the success of the Edinburgh service that we launched in May 2010. Despite extensive marketing of this route both in Scotland and throughout SE England, the challenging economic environment with which we are all faced has meant passenger numbers remain at unsustainable levels, and are insufficient to financially justify its continued operation.
All passengers who have booked flights online for next summer will be contacted by Flybe and offered a full refund or re-accommodated on alternate flights; and in the interim we look forward to welcoming on board those passengers who continue to book and use our Edinburgh service from now through to the end of March.”
The decision comes after Flybe axed flights from Manston to Manchester due to lack of passenger demand.
Airport bosses have urged Thanet council to support Manston’s plans for night flights, on the grounds that it needs greater flexibility to compete with other airports. Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive of Manston Airport, said:
“While obviously disappointed, we understand that the decision has been taken as part of Flybe’s ongoing review of its 200 routes. Launched in May 2010, the service initially performed well. However, like many other internal UK routes it suffered from the economic downturn. Inbound and outbound passenger numbers, although initially good have unfortunately tailed off as household budgets and discretionary spend has tightened.
The decision by Flybe reinforces the need for the airport’s proposals for limited and managed scheduled night-time flights to be agreed with Thanet District Council in order to compete with other national and regional airports. Without the ability to compete it will be very difficult to secure a commitment from other airlines to base aircraft at Manston and deliver a truly sustainable regional airport which will underpin the future health of the East Kent economy.”
Commenting on the decision, Sandra Matthews-Marsh, Chief Executive at Visit Kent, said:
“This is disappointing news for East Kent in a very challenging economic climate for the travel and tourism industry.”
Flybe also runs a service between Manston and Belfast – which will also end, said a company spokesman.
thisiskent 22nd Dec 2011