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More summer travel chaos as Flybe axes Belfast flights

AIRCRAFT: Flybe chief executive Dave Pflieger, second left, with Belfast City Airport chief executive Matthew Hall and Flybe cabin crew unveiling the carrier’s inaugural flight to Birmingham in April. But now that service is being reduced over the summer months
Gary McDonald

THOUSANDS of holidaymakers and business travellers in the north are facing further travel chaos this summer after the reinvented Flybe revealed it is cancelling or rescheduling dozens of flights from Belfast City.

Just 12 weeks after the regional airline resumed operations, its chief executive Dave Pflieger emailed customers yesterday warning them of the changes and offering his "unreserved apologies", blaming it on problems with the carrier's leasing company.

The Belfast City services to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Southampton will all operate at a heavily reduced frequency.

And the routes to Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle are being scrapped altogether from July 28 to October 29.

Flybe - which took to the skies again in April, some 25 months after it collapsed into administration in March 2020 - has blamed the changes on "late aircraft deliveries".

Mr Pflieger said: "The two aircraft leasing companies who were contracted to provide our additional airplanes have now told us that they will be unable to fulfil their commitments until after the summer.

"We were able to find and rent aircraft from two separate airlines in Greece and Spain, but those planes are not enough, and the lack of additional aircraft needed for new flying means we need to adjust our future flight schedule."

He added: "This is not a decision we've have taken lightly, and as you would expect, we are in daily conversations with all involved to see if anything might change that would allow us to resume our original plans at an earlier date.

"But it is essential that we take action now to ensure people have enough time to change their travel plans, be re-accommodated on a different flight or, if that is not desired, obtain a full refund."

It's three months since the first Flybe flight took to the skies from Belfast, and it currently flies customers to a number of regional destinations.

"We were planning to increase flights to existing cities and new destinations, but can't now fulfil these commitments until after the summer," Mr Pflieger said.

The carrier says it has added new functionality to its website to enable customers to change their reservation or request a refund.

Flybe's new owner Thyme Opco currently operates eight routes from Belfast City Airport and said last month that it intends adding four more destinations before the end of August, which now seems unlikely.



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