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Flybe’s resurrection has been announced!
Adrian Leopard 591

Flybe’s resurrection has been announced!

Will the stress of flying be removed as long as there is a risk of Covid-19?

It is no doubt a surprise to many that Flybe, the airline which went into administration back in March has been bought and is expected to get started up again. The purchaser is Thyme Opco who are linked to Cyrus Capital, a company which was part of a Virgin-led rescue attempt for the airline last year.


At the moment details of the new operation are rather sparse but no doubt further information will emerge as time goes on. It is believed that flights could start up again early next year. Flybe was the largest regional air carrier in the EU and was well known for connecting smaller airports.


However the new purchase raises obvious questions. Firstly, quite simply is demand for regional flights going to grow again any time soon and even if there is some demand, is it going to be a sufficient demand to justify this particular phoenix rising from the ashes? As we have seen for the moment, flying in general is really down in the doldrums; airlines have been making huge numbers of employees redundant across the world and the number of aeroplanes which have been taken out of service is vast. You can see them parked in long lines in certain locations where there is enough space.


The buyer of Flybe is certainly taking an extraordinarily brave step at this time and one assumes that they did a very good deal with the administrators. It is certainly a bright light in an otherwise rather dark sky at the moment. Watch this space with interest!


Rather conveniently coming along at the same time is the outcome of a report of a number of Tourism Management researchers. They say that in their view the airlines must reduce air travel stress in order to get passengers back in the air. They postulate, for example, that the threat of contracting Covid-19 is in fact outweighed by the fear of contracting it. There certainly could be mileage in such a suggestion and that would probably apply far more widely than just in the course of flying.


This hypothesis is included in a new peer-reviewed paper published in the academic journal Tourism Management. The paper itself is extremely long and complex but it focuses on the conservation of resources enabling less stressful measures to be needed. For example, the simple situation of pressure to maximise the number of seats on a flight leads to the inevitable reduction in leg room which in turn causes discomfort and stress for passengers.


For those with the time, the full publication can be found here:


Read this and you can of course then make up your own mind about their theories and proposals.


Another report which has been published makes it clear that with the wearing of face masks in aeroplanes, the risk of contracting Covid-19 is much lower. In fact one mathematical model predicted the odds of catching Covid-19 from passenger contact aboard an aircraft to be as low as 1 in 6400. Unfortunately of course whilst there are those who are optimistic about result generally, there are as always those who are much less so, including one alleging “bad math”.


Would you go on an aircraft just at the moment?


In the short term perhaps people are not going to be so worried about travelling; they have more to be concerned about with the increasing restrictions around the country and what will probably be greater increasing restrictions as time goes on. It is now just over 9 weeks to Christmas and people will be wondering what sort of arrangements they are going to be able to make, if indeed they are able to do anything positive. It would be unwise probably to book anything special at the moment, certainly unless it can be cancelled without penalty but it would not be in the least surprising if Europe as a whole has to hunker down while it waits for the virus to be brought under control.


Oh and just a little PS for your edification, brand new Japanese low cost carrier Zipair (a subsidiary of flag carrier JAL) used its brand new 290 seat Boeing 787 Dreamliner for its maiden revenue flight last Friday (16th), between Tokyo and Seoul. It had two passengers on board!! Don’t suppose it made much profit on that flight!


Adrian Leopard 20-10-20


Photo Markus Winkler

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