BE are having a complete re-think of their strategy at present, realizing that they can not compete and make money against the low cost carriers on routes such as BRS - BFS. Today they are competing with lower fares, but with a significantly higher cost base. They see the low cost market becoming even more of a threat over the next 18 months, and they have to decide to join them, or become even more of a regional niche carrier.
What we could see happening is the replacement of the 146 with a fleet of six 733's in a high density layout.
Based LGW BHD
BHD to BRS, BHX, LGW, LBA, NCL, ABZ, IOM
LGW to GCI, JER, IOM
Weekend operations will be reduced to allow for charters, as well as routes such as BHD - AGP, and from outstations such as BHD - NCL - AGP - NCL - BHD.
The regional division will focus on the Dash 8's based ex LCY if the airport will reduce landing charges, which are the highest in Europe.
The company is having difficulty attracting passengers airports where they compete against BA, BD and the low cost operators for traffic to london.
They may develop a tertiary route network to include routes to and from regional airports, which include Lerwick, Carlisle, Blackpool, Exeter, and Irish regional destinations, such as Galway, Donegal and Waterford. These routes are perfect for the 37 seater D8-200's operating a once daily schedule, with the aircraft overnighting cheaply at the outstation. (i.e GWY - LCY (current daily operations) LCY - GWY). As these airports do not have any competition, BE can operate at more unfavourable times (early morning departures), and charge higher fares. With sub 50 seater aircraft operating the routes excess capacity will not be a problem.
Air France operations will be operated using the Dash 8-400 Equipment until union restrictions allow a change to the maximum size of aircraft.
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