UK regional airline British European has introduced a new brand and pricing structure incorporating elements pioneered by low-cost airlines in a bid to boost market share at the same time as improving yields.

The airline, which has adopted the brand name Flybe, has been testing a low-fares pricing concept on its London-Belfast services since last November. The move, which included selling one-way tickets from £25 ($38) under the brand, has boosted ticket sales over the internet from 6% to 20-22% and at times up to 40%, in addition to increasing market share. "We recovered a lot of share, but at the expense of yield," says Jim French, managing director. The new pricing and product structure, introduced across its network, is designed to "bring in this balance" between market share and yields, he says.

Flybe is "a new style of airline", says French, incorporating the best from low-cost operators and traditional airlines. From low-cost operators come heavily discounted one-way tickets, from £29; £25 changeable tickets; the abolition of overbooking before the start of the winter schedule in October; late fare deals; and £5 savings on every sector booked via the internet. Flybe will retain traditional service, including business class from London Gatwick, and will still distribute tickets through computer reservation systems. French predicts "more [airlines] will adopt the central ground, taking the good bits from the low-cost airlines".

Source: Flight International