Business World

Sunday 22 October 2017

Flybe hopes to make call on airline's fleet later this year, says chief executive

Flybe uses a variety of passenger planes, including the Embraer E175
Flybe uses a variety of passenger planes, including the Embraer E175
Flybe CEO, Christine Ourmieres-Widener
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

UK regional airline Flybe could make a decision by the end of the year about its future fleet composition, according to chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener.

Speaking to the Irish Independent at the CAPA Airline Leaders Summit in Co Wicklow, the Flybe boss said that the carrier is talking to a number of aircraft makers to assess its options.

"We are in contact with all the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), because we need to decide where we want to go moving forward," she said.

"Our core market is point-to-point regional, so short distances. Within the group we fly Bombardier Q400, Embraer 195s and 175, and ATRs. So we know all these types of aircraft quite well."

But Ms Ourmieres-Widener, who ran Dublin-based CityJet between 2010 and the end of 2014, insisted it's "too early to say" what the composition of the future Flybe fleet will be.

"We are exploring all kinds of scenarios," she said. "It's a complex process."

However, she said that the board could make a decision regarding the future fleet this year.

"We could make a decision this year if we have all the facts and numbers that we need - that's what we have in mind," she said.

"It's better to know where we're headed. It's one of the most important decisions we have to take, and it will have to be sustained by a long-term strategy."

Ms Ourmieres-Widener was appointed chief executive at Flybe in December.

The airline also has a franchise agreement with Dublin-based Stobart Air, which operates the Aer Lingus Regional service. The CAPA event was held over two days at the Powerscourt Hotel & Resort in Co Wicklow.

The global event was sponsored by the DAA and other firms including Aer Lingus, and was attended by a number of aviation executives.

They included CityJet boss Pat Byrne, the chief executive of Malaysia Airlines chief executive Peter Bellew, IAG chief Willie Walsh, as well as executives from companies and airlines such as Aeroflot, Ethiopian Airlines, HNA Aviation and Skyscanner.

The executives discussed topics including digital innovation and how it impacts and will impact airlines in the future.

Irish Independent

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