UK regional carrier Flybe has placed a follow-on order for 15 Bombardier Q400s, with options for a further 15 of the type.

Flybe will take delivery of the 78-seat aircraft over the next two years, taking it to 60 of the type. It says the deal will confirm its position as the world’s largest Q400 operator.

When the total Q400 fleet is in place by September 2009, the type will operate on more than 70% of Flybe’s routes.
Flybe chairman and CEO Jim French says: “Investing $788 million confirms that Flybe is in great financial shape. The new aircraft will help drive us forward and cement our position as one of Europe’s leading low-cost airlines.”

The new Q400s will replace BA Connect’s Embraer ERJ-145s, which joined the Flybe fleet as part of its acquisition of the British Airways regional arm.

Flybe says: “This latest order takes the total investment by Flybe in new aircraft to more than $2 billion over the last two years and will drive the continued expansion of the company on the back of the recent acquisition of BA Connect.”

Following the acquisition, Flybe operates 37 aircraft, serving 152 routes and 56 airports across seven countries.