Flybe 2.0 Takes Delivery Of Its First Plane: A Dash-8

The all-new Flybe is moving closer to launching operations. At the end of last week, the airline took delivery of its first aircraft. In true Flybe style, the airline will use the DHC Dash 8-400 for its operations, and is targeting a fleet of 32 aircraft.

The new Flybe has officially taken delivery of its first Dash 8. Photo: De Havilland Canada

First plane arrives for Flybe

It’s been almost two years since the demise of the original Flybe. As Europe’s biggest regional airline, and a firm fixture in the UK market, Flybe was sorely missed by several airports and many communities. However, the airline’s brand and remaining assets were sold to an investment vehicle, and rumors of its revival have been circulating for many months.

Last week, Flybe 2.0 took delivery of its first De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400, the very same type of aircraft used by the original Flybe. The first Flybe was the world’s largest operator of the Dash 8, but the revived Flybe is beginning operations with just one.

The aircraft was delivered to Birmingham Airport, which will become Flybe‘s new base. While it’s disappointing that the airline will not return to its historic base of Exeter Airport in Devon, Birmingham makes a lot of sense in terms of regional connectivity.

Flybe has secured its first turboprop with the assistance of Nordic aviation capital (NAC). The airline is targeting a fleet of 32 aircraft, although it hasn’t shared how quickly these aircraft will be delivered.

Dave Pflieger, CEO of Flybe Ltd, commented,

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with NAC to take delivery of our first De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400. This is an exciting time for our team and our new airline, and we look forward to working with both NAC and De Havilland Canada as we launch and grow our fleet with more of these incredibly fast turboprop planes that are more eco-friendly than regional jets.”

About the first plane

Flybe’s first Dash is a 14-year-old Q400 turboprop, currently registered G-JECX and formerly operated by the original Flybe. It was delivered to Flybe 1.0 in 2007, and returned to the lessor at the airline’s collapse in March 2020. According to ch-aviation, the aircraft has undertaken more than 26,000 cycles and has flown for just over 23,000 hours. It is valued at $4.6 million.

Flybe fans might remember that another Dash 8 was registered for Flybe around this time last year. That aircraft, registered G-CLXC, did arrive in the UK, at Exeter no less, but appears to have been acquired simply for the airline to secure its AOC. The aircraft was flown out of the UK on August 23rd, and re-registered C-GXNL. It is now flying regularly for PAL Airlines in Canada.

Flybe’s confirmed first plane, G-JECX, flew in from storage in Maastricht on November 5th. Having spent some time in Exeter, likely getting a thorough maintenance check from the former Flybe’s MRO facilities in Devon, it flew into Birmingham for the first time on November 25th. Since then it has flown several short hops, visiting Exeter, Nottingham, Newquay, Cardiff, and Liverpool, likely all proving flights for Flybe’s initial services.

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