UK-based regional airline Flybe said a review of its fleet requirements has concluded that the Bombardier Q400 is the best aircraft for its current and future needs.
As the airline moves to a core Q400 fleet, it will return nine Embraer E195s on top of the six older Q400s it has already handed back to lessors.
As part of its cost cutting efforts it will concentrate on profitable routes only and reduce its fleet from the 85 aircraft it had at its peak in May 2017 to around 70 aircraft by 2020.
It will retain the smaller Embraer E175s for higher density routes, and still plans to take delivery of an additional four of the type due next year. The E175s yet to arrive are part of a 2010 order for 35 aircraft that was subsequently reduced and delayed due to financial constraints.
“Flybe’s strategy is to reduce the fleet size to an optimum level and make the business demand-driven rather than capacity-led,” the airline’s chief executive Christine Ourmières-Widener said.
After examining all options, the Q400 was selected for its “superior economy, speed and quietness [and] is ideal for a regional airline such as ourselves. Together with a number of Embraer E175s, our future fleet will be the optimum required for our specific regional route network,” she added.
Flybe flies over 210 routes across 15 countries and styles itself “the largest independent airline in Europe.”