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Flybe trims wings in face of falling demand

Flybe Finland is contemplating eliminating services to Jyväskylä in central Finland due to declining passenger numbers. The airline says seat occupancy has fallen by a quarter and that its business on the route is in the red.

Matkustajia nousemassa lentoyhtiö Flyben koneeseen.
Matkustajia nousemassa lentoyhtiö Flyben koneeseen. Image: Yle

A rapid decline in domestic travel is causing the budget airline Flybe to consider cutting back on new routes. Flybe says it will be forced to eliminate loss-making routes if local airports operator Finavia implements a plan to increase landing fees next year.

The airline hopes to attract passengers traveling for recreational purposes in addition to current business travelers.

According to Flybe, Kainuu in eastern Finland is one of the few routes where passenger traffic has seen a slight increase since the summer. By contrast, traffic on other routes continues to fall.

“Now we are naturally at the low point of an economic slump and we have reacted to declining demand by reducing our offering,” said Mikko Sundström, head of Flybe Finland.

Higher landing fees; fewer flights

The majority of Flybe flights are on domestic routes, many of them operated on behalf of part owner Finnair. Flybe says a plan by airport operator Finavia to increase landing fees by four percent from 2014 will mean a reduction in flights.

“The short term impact will be that our flight offering will shrink as costs rise. It is of course regrettable, because this will not necessarily increase Finavia’s turnover as they perhaps hoped,” Sundström explained.

Apart from considering the possibility of scrapping flights to Jyväskylä, the airline is also monitoring passenger traffic to other domestic destinations such as Kokkola in the west and Mariehamn in the Åland Islands.

The phrase "scrapping flights to Jyväskylä" was edited to "considering the possibility of scrapping flights to Jyväskylä" on 03-10-2013.

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