Flybe pulls out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport with loss of ten flights
Airline Flybe has confirmed that it will no longer fly out of Doncaster Sheffield Airport after October.
The troubled carrier announced back in April that it would cut eight of its 10 routes from Doncaster Sheffield at the end of 2019 and withdraw its two jets from the base, with the remaining flights to Amsterdam and Belfast City being operated by smaller aircraft based elsewhere.
But they have now confirmed that neither route has attracted enough demand from customers to continue operating, meaning that Flybe will withdraw completely from the airport before the 2020 summer season.
The 10 services that will disappear from the schedules are: Alicante, Amsterdam, Belfast City, Dublin, Faro, Jersey, Malaga, Newquay, Palma and Paris Charles de Gaulle.
The decision was made after a major review of Flybe's network and its commercial viability. Flights from other UK airports - including Cardiff, Exeter, East Midlands, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton - have also been badly hit.
Flybe has also withdrawn its business flights from Leeds Bradford to Dusseldorf, although services to Belfast City, Southampton and Newquay will continue.
The airline has experienced a tough year, and endured a nightmare start to their summer timetable in April when over 20 flights were cancelled on the same day. Pilot shortages were blamed for the chaos.
Exeter-based Flybe has been flying from Doncaster Sheffield - the former RAF Finningley air base, which has one of the country's longest runways - since 2006.
A spokeswoman for Flybe said: "Flybe has recently completed an exhaustive network review to strengthen the commercial viability of its 2019-20 winter schedule, further optimise its flying programme and improve profitability in line with its previously announced planned fleet reduction.
"It was announced back in April that the airline’s base at Doncaster Sheffield Airport will close when the two jets based there are withdrawn and returned to the lessors at the end of October. This meant that the two remaining routes on sale for the winter to Amsterdam and Belfast City would be operated by smaller Q400 aircraft flying from another base. However, since going on sale, neither route has attracted sufficient forward bookings to warrant them continuing.
"As a result, it is with regret that with effect from the end of the 2019 summer schedule, Flybe will be withdrawing all services from Doncaster Sheffield Airport, with the last flight operating on Saturday 26 October.
"Flybe would sincerely apologise for the inconvenience to those customers affected and confirms that all are being contacted and offered the option of being re-booked on an alternative flight or receiving a full refund."
Doncaster Sheffield Airport representatives claimed that they had actually seen an increase in bookings on the Amsterdam and Belfast routes this summer.
A spokesman said: "Despite the withdrawal of these two routes, we are still expecting a record year having launched more new routes since August last year than any other UK airport.
"Flybe are currently going through a rescue strategy, making major changes to their business model to try and secure their future as part of the recent takeover. This coupled with challenges on slot availability and wider industry uncertainty has led to the removal of these routes from DSA and a number of others across UK airports.
"From a DSA perspective, the Amsterdam and Belfast routes have proved popular with a 25 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the summer versus last year, with near full aircraft.
"We look forward to another strong year for Doncaster Sheffield Airport, thanks to our continuing partnerships with our growing airlines Wizz Air and TUI."