Flybe Takes Over BA Connect – Airways | Airlines

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DALLAS — Today, in 2007, the low-cost subsidiary of British Airways (BA), BA Connect, disappeared from the skies after its takeover by Flybe (BE).

The airline was a short-lived attempt by BA to compete with the growing presence of low-cost carriers in the UK and turn around its ailing regional operation.

History


BA Connect’s history dates back to January 1970, when Brymon Airways (BC) was created. BA purchased Brymon in 1993 and began operating as a British Airways Express brand franchise carrier.

On March 28, 2002, the company was merged with another BA carrier, British Regional Airlines (TH), and rebranded as British Airways CitiExpress. This allowed BA to consolidate its short-haul operations, reducing unnecessary overlap with its subsidiaries and franchise partners.

At the time, Rod Eddington, BA’s then-CEO, said the merger was “a significant step forward in building a strong and highly competitive business in the UK regions.”

The combined carriers served 59 destinations with 76 aircraft, comprising 30 Embraer ERJ-145s, five BAe 146s, 13 BAe ATPs, 13 Jetstream 41s, and 15 Bombardier Dash 8-300s.

In a major shakeup, it was announced in December 2002 that its entire turboprop fleet was to be retired. It would also close its regional hubs at Leeds Bradford (LBA) and Cardiff Airport (CWL). However, flights from London City to Frankfurt, Glasgow, and Paris were introduced in 2003.

Citiexpress also pioneered the ‘print-at-home’ boarding pass, which is now commonplace for travelers worldwide. The initiative was trialed on its London City routes and focused on the airline’s high-yielding business passengers.

BA Connect Embraer EMB-145 at Manchester Airport. Photo: Paul Spijkers (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons.

Fierce Competition


Alas, Citiexpress was not the success management had hoped for, and BA’s regional operation continued to lose money.

In a last-ditch attempt to return to profitability,…

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