ANA Take Delivery of BEAUTIFUL New A380

Today, ANA Japan will take delivery of their first Airbus A380 from the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse. 

ANA will be the final new operator of the jet so this event in Toulouse will be the last of its kind and a special moment for all involved. I arrived in Toulouse yesterday to cover the event and feel honoured to be witnessing this final moment for such an iconic jet.

ANA have opted to paint the three super-jumbos they will receive in special liveries called ‘flying Honu’. The first of the jets (being delivered today) is in a dark blue colour while the following two jets will be light blue and orange.

The A380 will be utilised on the Tokyo – Honolulu routing from May 24th three times weekly and July 1st daily in a 4 class configuration and it is evident that ANA have invested heavily in this new idea. A new lounge in Honolulu has been opened which will link premium customers straight to the upper deck of the aircraft and new collaborations with companies such as Bills and Globetrotter will ensure new meals and amenity kits are offered onboard.

So far, ANA have a 10% seat share on the Hawaii – Japan route. With the introduction of three A380s, they hope to increase this share to 25%.

Why Hawaii?

Hawaii is the largest resort holiday location for Japanese travelers and super popular for weddings and honeymoons. It is ANA’s hope that they can cater to this market of travelers and offer a more spacious and comfortable product on that route.

The Aircraft

The A380 is set up in a four class configuration over 580 seats.

First Class

First class has been introduced to this route for the first time ever and it set up in a spacious 1-2-1 configuration over 8 seats.

The seat looks very comfy but instantly I realised that the colours look slightly dull.  The seat features a 32″ screen and heaps of storage space.

Business Class

Business class is also set up in a 1-2-1 configuration. The cabin takes up the middle section of the upper deck and covers 56 seats.

The business class cabin looks lovely with each seat having direct aisle access and offers the opportunity for couples to sit together in the middle seats. Each seat is fitted with an 18″ screen and good privacy.

Premium Economy 

Premium Economy is set up in a 2-3-2 configuration over 73 seats and covers the rear of the upper deck.

ANA A380 Premium Economy

The seats have large tray tables which swivel 90 degrees to let passengers leave their seats while eating. Each seat has a 15.6″ touch screen and is fitted with a foot rest. One perk of premium economy is that business class alcohol is served.

Economy Class

Economy class covers the majority of the lower deck over 383 seats in a 3-4-3 configuration.

The slimline seats have adjustable headrests with 34″ of pitch.

ANA Couchii

In addition to the four classes, the aircraft also has a section of ANA Couchii. The area covers the final 7 rows of economy and have a legrest that comes up to form a bed.

The seats come with bedding for extra comfort and 32″ of pitch.

This delivery is a huge opportunity for ANA Japan to crack the Hawaii market for good and I can’t wait to see if they use it to make a success of their new purchases.

British Airways Launch GAME-CHANGING New Business Class

This morning, British Airways announced a new business class seat which will be fitted on their new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft due to be delivered in July this year.

The new seat is quite simply a game-changer. It includes a completely private suite similar to that of the Delta One Suite or the Qatar Airways Q-Suite.

The new business class seat will initially be rolled out on the all new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft where there will be no first class product. The ‘club suite’ cabin will have a total of 56 seats and feature WiFi.

BA have announced that they will operate the aircraft to Madrid in order for the crew to familiarize themselves with the product before it rolls out to Toronto on October 1st and Dubai on October 7th.

For too long, British Airways have been slated for their poor ‘club-world’ seat which received poor reviews from most. The cabin will be set up in a 1-2-1 configuration with every seat having direct aisle access. The seats have been designed by Collins Aerospace and it is their ‘Super Diamond bespoke seat’.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

BA have stated that the seat has 40% more storage space than the previous seat with three storage compartments below the arm, one of which opens into a mirror. The soft product such as bedding will still be from the White Company.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

The new seat will also feature gate-to-gate entertainment on a new 18.5 inch screen. One major complaint of the old seat is that passengers couldn’t use the IFE screens during takeoff and landing but with the new design, we will be able to finish our films during touch-screen!

The tray-table will be large enough for a laptop and enable passengers to leave their seat during meal service.

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

In a lie-flat position, the seat will measure 6.5″ which means I will have no problem getting a good nights sleep in the new cabin!

(Picture by Nick Morrish/British Airways)

To conclude, British Airways have finally developed a product which compares to that of its competitors such as Qatar Airways. The new seat will be an absolute game-changer in business class travel and I can’t wait to fly on the aircraft soon.

What Does LondonSpotter Pack?

Packing for a flight can be a huge fuss for everyone involved. I remember when I was younger, we would start packing days before family holidays and still somebody would realise they had forgotten something on the way to the airport.

While I am definitely better trained now, I also have some core items that I always pack and a list on my phone which I can check off every time I pack for a flight. So without further ado, here are my essentials for flights.

1. A sturdy suitcase

Whatever people say, the suitcase is the most important item and you need to invest wisely. I have seen people clutching bad suitcases in their arms while boarding planes before and I am not jealous at all. Buying a bad suitcase is a recipe for a nightmare flight and that is why I use Samsonite bags. The exact case I used for carry-on luggage was the ‘S’ Cure Spinner 55′. I now use another Samsonite bag, however, which is the Samsonite Winfeild 2 case.

While the Samsonite suitcases are undoubtedly the best, I also own a cheaper option which, for the price, is excellent. The Aerolite SuperLeightweight ABS fits perfectly in the overhead storage and was sturdy enough to be taken around China and Vietnam all summer.

The final two suitcases I don’t own but have been recommended on the market so I thought I would add them in as well.

2. Headphones

As an avid music-listener (especially when flying), I always bring at least two sets of wireless headphones. I choose to go wireless for two reasons. The first reason is that I carry lots of wires and cables with me while travelling such as chargers and USB leads. By going wireless on the headphones, I avoid tangling my cables up while unpacking everything for security checks. The second reason is because I often use my phone to record sound footage for my vlogs and the microphone I use plugs into the headphone jack. It would be very annoying to keep unplugging my headphones to record every time. The headphones I use are by JBL and I love them. They’re sturdy and the bluetooth connectivity carries a long way so I would highly recommend them. The other four options are headphones I also own and would suggest.

3. Power Bank 

If you’re like me and live on your phone then you’ll know that flying can get very challenging very quickly if you’re phone dies. While many planes have USB ports built into the seats, many older aircraft and short-haul planes don’t. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell if your plane will or will not unless you know the exact aircraft you’re flying on. I carry three power banks with me so that my Gopro and two mobile phones remain fully charged throughout the flight. I have also purchased smaller chargin cables for more efficient charging and less chance of tangling. I highly recommend the Anker chargers and have always used them.

4. Filming and photography equipment 

While this one won’t be necessary for all of you, I often get asked what equipment I use to film my YouTube videos. Below you can see the GoPro cameras I use to film, the microphone I use for sound recording and the phone I use for photos and some video. I have also added Sony Vegas which is the software I use to edit my video.


5. Head pillows

Something that will apply to all of you who fly often is the head pillow. If you have an upcoming long-haul flight you need to add one of these to your basket as a head pillow is ESSENTIAL for long haul travel.

While most pillows are uncomfortable and don’t work too well, I have managed to try out many of the top products and trust me, they make a huge difference. My top pick is the ‘TRTL’ neck pillow which has a different design to the others but works wonders.


6.  All-in-one travel adapters 

If you travel frequently, you’ll know it can be a pain having 10 different types of adapters knocking around your cupboards. I tend to have a few ‘all-in-one’ adapters at home which I take away with me and stay in my suitcase. Most of these are the same but the ones below are some of my favourites.


7. Toiletries Bag

The final item on my list for making traveling easier and stress-free is having a nice toiletries bag. I have always used a personalised bag from the awesome company Airportag but the quality wasn’t great and I now use a nice Chase Sapphire Reserve bag which I couldn’t find online. My recommendations for a toiletries bag is that it should be either see-through and cheap or luxury and expensive. This all depends what you consider to be more important, speed or good looks. Below are a few of my top-picks from online.

So there are my favourite travel picks and what I make sure I pack in my bags when travelling. Have anything to add to this list? Drop me a message via the contact section on the website or

Valentine’s Heartbreak: Airbus Kill off A380

After entering service 12 years ago with Singapore Airlines, Airbus has announced that it will be ending production of the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

This wingview will become a thing of the past

The decision comes after Emirates announced that it was cutting its A380 fleet size from 160 to 123. This fleet size cut means that Emirates will only be receiving 14 more planes over the next two years.

Emirates are not the only airline to announce bad plans for the A380, however. It was reported yesterday by Aviation Analyst Alex Macheras that Qatar Airways will begin scrapping their A380s on their tenth anniversary (2024).

Qatar Airways will scrap their A380s beginning in 2024

In older news, Malaysian Airlines have also scrapped their super-jumbos and replaced their final A380 route to London Heathrow with the smaller and more efficient Airbus A350.



The future of the Airbus A380 has been in doubt since it became clear that airlines were less interested in using large aircraft fit for 450+ passengers. More modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 boast better fuel efficiency which saves airlines huge amounts of money on longer flights and while scrapping most planes allows airlines to make money in the second-hand market, there is virtually no demand for second hand A380s as has been shown by the ex-Singapore jets which are still yet to be bought.

Flying Vietnam Airlines A350 last summer

For me this news is sad, as a young child the A380 was always my favourite aircraft. My first flight on the A380 was in 2015 when I flew from London to Dubai with Emirates. Flying such a large aircraft was incredible and since then I have flown the beast a handful of times.

If you want to watch my A380 flight from hell with China Southern then see below!

GUIDE: How To See The Northern Lights On A Budget

The Northern Lights are one of the world’s most mesmerising natural phenomena and are visible between September and April in clear, cloudless weather conditions. The optimum months for Aurora viewing are between December and February, in the Arctic Circle between 66°N and 69°N. So, what better time to publish my guide on the best ways to experience the Northern Lights, with budget flights?


Option 1: Iceland

Tourism is flourishing in Iceland and the possibility of viewing the Northern Lights is a major attraction on the island. Reykjavik is the main gateway for air travel and the economic and cultural centre of the nation, but venture out of the city and you will be rewarded with a much higher chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis.

There is debate as to whether such rapid growth of tourism generated by the aviation industry in Iceland is sustainable.

Whilst Iceland is notorious for its absurdly high cost of living, inexpensive airfares are now the norm due to the fierce competition on UK-Iceland routes.

Flight connections to Iceland 

When flying to Reykjavik, there are a plethora of options flying from a range of UK airports, including Manchester, London, Bristol, Edinburgh, Belfast, East Midlands and more with airlines such as EasyJet, Wizz Air, WOW Air, Icelandair and British Airways.

WOW Air offers budget flights to Iceland from Dublin, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Stansted in the UK and Ireland.

You can also incorporate a visit to Iceland en route to North America, as both Icelandair and WOW Air allow customers to book a stopover in Iceland when connecting in Reykjavik.

For an even better chance of viewing the Northern Lights, you can take a domestic flight to Akureyri, located in the far north of Iceland, with Air Iceland. 

Option 2: Norway

In recent years, the far north of Norway has become synonymous with the Northern Lights and increasingly easy to access.

Tromso is known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’

Tromsø is the main gateway for any Northern Light viewing trips, known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’ with its spectacular backdrop of fjords and rural scenery. 

Flight connections to Tromsø

Earlier this year, Wizz Air launched a new connection between London Luton and Tromsø. The non-stop route operates twice-weekly, operating on Mondays and Fridays.

Wizz Air has initiated rapid expansion from its London Luton base in recent years. I sampled the airline’s service from London to Warsaw, in 2017.

Fares start from as low as just £24.99, leaving London Luton on 28th January 2019. Although there are other airlines that offer nonstop air routes between the UK and a Tromsø, namely Norwegian from London Gatwick, Wizz Air’s new route is by far the best option for those on a budget.

Option 3: Finland’s Far North

With the most lakes across all of Europe, Finland’s rural, sparsely populated Northern landscape offers an unbeatable backdrop for the Aurora.

Northern lights over the Pyhae Luosto National Park in northern Finnland.

Even though Finland’s Lapland region has become extremely popular for package holidays and charter trips recently – with many flights from the likes of TUI and Thomas Cook, the area remained hard to access for independent travellers. Now, however, this has changed.

Flight Connections to Rovaniemi

EasyJet has recently started a new scheduled route between London Gatwick and “Santa’s Home Town” in Rovaniemi, Lapland. The new service is expected to carry 13,000 passengers in its first season, with a twice-weekly schedule, operating on Wednesdays and Sundays. EasyJet launched its new route from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi, in October. Image: Anna.Aero

EasyJet launched its new route from London Gatwick to Rovaniemi, in October. Image: Anna.Aero

Of course, travellers can continue to connect via Finland’s primary aviation hub, Helsinki, with Finnair and Norwegian Air.


For budget travellers, the spectacle of the Northern Lights is becoming ever easier to experience, with low cost airlines entering the market. 2019 could be the year where you can experience the Aurora Borealis for yourself.

Ethiopian Airlines Launches Manchester-Addis Ababa Flight

On December 11th 2018, Africa’s Best Airline – Ethiopian Airlines – inaugurated their first flight between Addis Ababa and Manchester.


The new service will operate on a four-weekly basis, utilising Boeing 787 Dreamliner equipment.

ET-AUO – a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner – operated the inaugural flight.

Initially, Ethiopian Airlines will operate the flight via Brussels (with no fifth-freedom rights to fly passengers between the UK and Belgium). Flights leave Manchester at 1900, and arrive in Addis Ababa at 0600, the next day. Meanwhile, the return sector will leave Addis Ababa at 0045, before arriving into Manchester at 0745.

Manchester Airport is Britains third busiest and has had great success, developing routes to destinations such as Muscat, Beijing, Hong Kong and Mumbai in recent years.

The route will connect Ethiopian Airlines guests to 58 destinations across the continent of Africa, boosting trade and tourism. Ethiopian Airlines’ hub in Bole Airport allows seamless transfers to onward flights, taking passengers to a plethora of destinations – from the Seychelles, to Namibia.

Ethiopian Airlines has en extensive and ever-growing network worldwide.

Announced in May 2018, Manchester is Ethiopian Airlines’ second gateway in the United Kingdom. The airline has a long established route to London Heathrow, which has operated for 46 years. Manchester Airport estimates that up to 400,000 people from the airport’s catchement area will be able to benefit from using the new route, including Ethiopian diaspora in the North and Midlands.

It is clear that many people are already taking advantage of the connectivity that this route offers, with Ethiopian Airlines’ CEO – Tewolde GebreMariam – stating that he is confident with advance bookings and aims to increase the route’s frequency to daily and remove the Brussels intermediate stop.

Ethiopian Airlines CEO – Tewolde GebreMariam – gave a charismatic speech, describing how the airline would ‘ramp up’ the frequency of the new route to daily.

Andrew Cowan, Manchester Airport’s CEO, said:

“We’re delighted to have Ethiopian Airlines launching its service to Addis Ababa today. It will provide a vital route into Africa for businesses across the North, as well as helping attract visitors and potential investors to the region”.

The inaugural event was interspersed with traditional Ethiopian dancing and a gift giving ceremony, between the management of Ethiopian Airlines and MAG.

The celebratory cake was adorned with Ethiopia’s national colours and a member of Ethiopian Airlines’ fleet in cake form.

The celebratory cake – featuring an Ethiopian Airlines fleet member, depicted in cake form – was cut by Tewolde GebreMariam and crew members.

Let’s Celebrate! Key figures from Ethiopian Airlines cut the celebratory cake, launching the new flight.

Jeremy Lefroy MP – attending as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy –  also spoke of the importance of the new route, highlighting how Manchester Airport – often referred to as ‘the Gateway to the North’ – holds the keys to economic development across the Midlands, in addition to England’s northern regions.

The route launch comes just a month after Addis Ababa was declared the primary gateway for feeder flights into Africa, overtaking Dubai – hub of the aviation heavyweight, Emirates. So far this year, Addis Ababa’s growth rate is 18%,  versus just 3% for Dubai. This is emblematic of Ethiopian Airlines’ fifteen year strategy to win back market share on routes to/from Africa, which it had lost to Middle Eastern carriers. Another catalyst in Ethiopian’s growth has no doubt been the investment in the airline’s hub – Bole International Airport – meaning it is now one of the most modern airports in Africa.

An artist’s impression of Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, once complete.

Ethiopian Airlines is an airline with dramatic growth plans which are slowly being realised. Ethiopian is now the airline of choice when travelling from Europe to Africa and was even named ‘Best Airline in Africa’ by SKYTRAX at this year’s airline awards. Additionally, Addis Ababa is now the most important hub for air travel to Africa. The airline has a modern fleet, comprised of Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft but has never deviated from its roots, continuing to offer traditional Ethiopian hospitality and cuisine onboard.

Ethiopian Airlines has a modern fleet, including Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350s and Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

With Ethiopia making the list of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is clear: Ethiopia and its national airline are undoubtedly on the up. I wish the airline many successful years of operating to their second gateway in the United Kingdom.


You can book flights on Ethiopian Airlines’ new flight to Manchester here. Stay tuned for my review of Ethiopian Airlines’ in-flight experience, including in Business Class.

First African Member: Royal Air Maroc Joins Oneworld Alliance

The Moroccan Flag Carrier – Royal Air Maroc – is now set to join one of the world’s leading airline alliances, Oneworld. The airline will become Oneworld’s first African airline, adding 34 new destinations and 21 new countries to the alliance’s network. RAM is the first recruit to Oneworld for six years and is currently the largest unaligned carrier across the African continent.

Royal Air Maroc’s revised livery, revealed this week.

Royal Air Maroc will officially join the alliance in mid-2020, at which point the airline’s regional subsidiary will become an affiliate member.

Royal Air Maroc already has established partnerships with Qatar Airways and Iberia – both prominent members of the Oneworld alliance. Additionally, the airline has a sizable fleet of 55 aircraft, connecting its Casablanca base with 94 destinations,  including the Oneworld hubs of Doha, London Heathrow, Madrid, Moscow Domodedovo, New York JFK and Sao Paulo. RAM’s five-year plan will see it expand even further, aspiring to carry 13 million passengers each year to 121 airports worldwide.

RAM’s network is extensive throughout Europe and the Americas.

The announcement that Royal Air Maroc is joining the alliance also avoids controversy as current member airlines can exercise veto rights over the acession of a new carrier, which is a possibility in the hypothetical case of China Southern and Cathay Pacific – but not an issue here.

Royal Air Maroc offers a competitive onboard product, with the backbone of its long-haul fleet comprised of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The airline also has a 2-2 ‘true’ Business Class onboard its Boeing 737 aircraft, meaning it is a good option when connecting into Europe too.

Royal Air Maroc recently launched flights to the US capital – Washington D.C.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce confirmed at a New York conference, on behalf of Oneworld, that Royal Air Maroc would be joining the alliance, saying :

“We’re pleased to welcome Royal Air Maroc to Oneworld  Africa is the last major region where Oneworld does not have a  full member airline – and has one of the fastest predicted air travel growth rates over the next few decades.  Royal Air Maroc will deliver greater value for more customers worldwide as we expand our alliance network to a new region.”


Ultimately, this is a positive development for Oneworld as it provides member airlines and frequent flyers with better and more convinient access to Africa, with a competitive onboard product. For Royal Air Maroc, Oneworld should be able to act as a catalyst for the airline to realise their ambitious growth plans.

TAP Portugal A330neo Full Cabin Tour

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to visit Toulouse, home of Airbus, where I visitied the TAP Portugal A330neo. The product onboard is fantastic and in this short post I will show you around the aircraft. Below you can watch my video tour of the aircraft.

Business Class

There is only one business class cabin onboard which is fitted in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The new business class cabin

The window seats have alternating setups with one closer to the window and one closer to the aisle.

The real ‘window’ seat
The ‘aisle’ window seat

If you enjoy looking out of the window I would always choose the seat closer to the window. The window seats are in the odd-numbered rows.

In the middle of the cabin the seats alternate between honeymoon seats which are close together and seats which are further apart and closer to the aisle.

Honeymoon seating
More private centre seating

Economy Class

The economy seats are configured in a 2-4-2 configuration.

The green economy cabin

I personally love 2-4-2 setups and these slimline Recaro seats made the aircraft look very spacious. In terms of comfort, I would always choose business class over this economy if I wanted a comfortable flight!

2-4-2 setup

The 2 seats by the window look like this.

Slimline seats

The four middle seats look like this.

Grey economy seating

Each seat is fitted with a personal IFE screen.

Personal monitors at each seat

Towards  the back of the aircraft, the setup becomes a 2-3-2 setup as the aircraft narrows.

This is only a brief tour of the aircraft and I hope to review it sometime in the future.

Visit the Famous German Christmas Markets for ONLY £10 Return

20.11.18 18:31: Update – Price for Bremen return updated to £10 return. This deal will expire at midnight tonight! Book Bremen here.

The shops have started selling advent calendars, the children are making Christmas present lists and the temperature has turned cold here in the UK. In the next few weeks I’ll be jetting off to a few countries and then settling down back home for a nice Christmas break.

Something I love to do at this time of year is visit the best Christmas markets in Europe in their birthplace – Germany. Whether its Berlin, Munich, Leipzig or Hannover, the German Christmas markets have something the English ones don’t have and can be a great place to shop around for presents or treat yourself to some delicious Thuringian Sausage.

Here at LondonSpotter, I have been looking out for the best deals to get to Germany and below you can see how you can visit the markets for as little as £10 RETURN.

Important – how to check price.

Now I highly doubt all of you will read this article as soon as it is published so it is important that you follow the below steps to check the price is still valid. You may even see a decrease in price from what I found.

Step 1: Click the link in the text for your preferred location.

Step 2:  Click through to the travel agent or airline.

Step 3: Book your flight as usual through the airline or travel agent.

Market #1: Bremen !!! SUPER CHEAP £10 RETURN DEAL !!!

The Bremen Christmas Markets sit on a World Heritage site next to the river which creates a perfect spot to sit and watch the lights reflect in the water. Make sure you visit the market square for the main buzz and stalls.

COST: £10 RETURN – BOOK HERE

Market #2: Leipzig 

The Leipzig markets are one of the biggest in Germany with over 300 stands and the tradition dates back 1458. This market also has a hidden secret that not many people know about. The song silent night was first sung here by two brothers who tried to sell gloves at the local market. When the plan ended in financial disaster they began to sing the song which is now sung all around the world at Christmas.

COST: £28 RETURN – BOOK HERE

Market #3: Berlin

The Berlin Christmas markets are a little bit more expensive than the others but are my personal favourite in Germany. I visited the markets last year and made a day trip out of it. Alongside the markets, be sure to visit the Berlin wall, Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag Building.

COST: £45 RETURN – BOOK HERE

Market #4: Munich 

Munich is one of my favourite cities and Europe and while you’ll probably be drinking more Gluhwein than Beer on this visit, be sure to stop at the Biergartens for a crisp German brew.

COST: £96 RETURN – BOOK HERE

Market #5: Innsbruck 

I’ve never visited Innsbruck but the scenery is simply fantastic. Be sure to eat Kiachln (piping hot doughnuts laced with Sauerkaut). The market is well known for its exquisite handicrafts and ornaments so if you visit Innsbruck, be sure to take some euros to fund the Christmas presents.

COST: £60 RETURN – BOOK HERE

Those are my picks for the best Christmas market deals this December so be sure to check out those fares as they may be coming down as time moves on from the publishing of this post. If you click through to the airline or travel agent from SkyScanner and notice that the price has decreased then drop me an email and I will update the information in this post!

Flybe On Sale Amid Financial Troubles

At a tumultuous time in the European aviation sector, following the collapse of airlines such as Cobalt, Primera Air, Monarch & Air Berlin, the continent’s largest regional carrier has put itself up for sale.

The Exeter-based regional airline confirmed it was “in discussions with a number of strategic operators about a potential sale of the company”, just weeks after a profit warning – stating that the airline would suffer an overall full-year loss of £12m.

The Exeter-based airline is Europe’s largest regional carrier.

The airline has launched a review, considering ‘strategic options’ such as cutting more unprofitable routes in the face of increasing challenges. A spokesman for the airline said that there was no threat to previously purchased tickets as a result of the review.

Flybe’s share price over the past three months. (LSE)

Flybe has been fighting to overcome losses for over 1 year already  – focusing on only the most profitable routes to raise load factors and returning aircraft to leasing companies – but the airline’s financial situation has declined considerably in recent weeks. Since September, Flybe’s share price has plummeted by 75% and the airline is now valued at just £25m – down by £190m since 2010.

what has led to Flybe’s financial woes?

Flybe has blamed the decision to put itself up for sale on the ‘current challenges’ the airline faces. Specifically, higher fuel costs, uncertainty over Brexit and the relative weakness of the Pound Sterling. Truthfully, however, this justification masks the long-term mismanagement and lack of vision at the top of the airline. Flybe has made a string of misjudged decisions over the past few years – culminating in today’s financial woes.

Flybe’s new livery was introduced just months ago. Photo: Melvin Debono

Faced with stiff competition from low-cost airlines such as EasyJet and Ryanair and full-service airlines such as British Airways, Flybe has struggled to identify itself in a crowded market. It is unclear whether the airline’s focus has been solely on domestic flights within the UK or more connectivity to smaller airports across Europe. It is on these routes to continental Europe where low-cost carriers are able to undercut Flybe, given their lower operating cost per seat.

Flybe has faced stiff competition from ruthless low-cost competitors like EasyJet and Ryanair.

British Airways’ domestic flights possibly exist only due to the airline’s long-standing commitment to the hub and spoke model, giving passengers the opportunity to connect onto the airline’s wide-ranging network in London. This is something Flybe have attempted to replicate in recent years, with the airline’s ‘One Stop to The World’ campaign, promoting connections to worldwide destinations via Birmingham and Manchester but this was largely unsuccessful. Flybe even attempted to funnel passengers through London Heathrow onto flights with partner airlines, launching flights to Edinburgh & Aberdeen from Britain’s busiest airport.

Despite British Airways having owned shares in Flybe historically, today the airline is not a subsidiary of a major airline group, like IAG. This means that, unlike many smaller low-cost airlines across Europe (e.g. Vueling or Level), Flybe has no security blanket as it is not backed by a larger, more profitable airline group.

who are the potential buyers of Flybe?

British Airways previously owned shares in the airline, however, it seems unlikely that IAG would be a potential rescuer to Flybe. Stobart Group – owners of London Southend Airport – are in the frame as potential buyers, having abandoned a previous bid earlier this year.

conclusion

Ultimately, if Flybe is lost, a large void will be left in the UK domestic market and many smaller airports that Flybe operates from will lose out, including the likes of Southampton, Exeter & Cardiff. Flybe operates 78 aircraft, serving eight million passengers per year, with roots dating back to 1979. If Flybe was to go bankrupt, it would be the largest shock to the European aviation industry since the collapse of Monarch and Air Berlin.