Flybe relocates capital base to London City

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Flybe is to make London City airport its principal base for serving the capital after signing a five-year traffic deal which will see it start five routes from October.

In a move which will allow the UK-based carrier to retain a foothold in the London market, Flybe will open routes to Edinburgh, Dublin, Exeter, Belfast and Inverness from 27 October. It expects to carry around 500,000 passengers annually.

New off-peak leisure flights to selected ski, regional French and northern Spanish destinations will follow and Flybe says further expansion could follow.

Saad Hammad, chief executive of Flybe, says: We are delighted to re-enter the London market at London’s most convenient airport following a rigorous profitability analysis utilising our strict route assessment model.

“Dedicating five growth aircraft initially to these new routes is a major statement of intent and we look forward to building a successful and growing presence there over the coming years."

The new routes will make Flybe the fourth largest carrier at the gateway, London City's operator says, and the expansion comes a month after the airline secured slots at the airport.

Its London City deal means Flybe will retain a presence in the capital after all but exiting London Gatwick in April having sold its slots to EasyJet in 2013 for £20 million ($30 million).