Their business model is dead and buried, has been for years. There's too many frequent trains now, the airport experience is no longer fast and seamless for business travel and APD has killed leisure travellers as well as the religious judgement of our fellow citizens. I was witness to the outrage of "You FLEW to Newquay?" outrage last week against a work colleague.
I dont think the business model is entirely dead and buried.... There are then numerous other routes that are time consuming to get to by train - Scotland to Norfolk / Cornwall / Wales etc.
There are opportunities out there.
Sadly due to flybe's poor reputation, they've lost a few of these markets to an ever expanding Loganair and Stobart Air.
I used to live close to Heathrow. A couple of years I ago I moved to a place close to Bournemouth and found out what travel from the regions is like. With very little air service from BOH, Southampton is effectively my local airport.
As an example of the numerous routes that are time consuming by train, the train from Southampton to Edinburgh takes around 7-8 hours, with one or more changes along the way. Most of the options involve a trek from Waterloo or Paddington across London to King's Cross.
I love a good train journey, but I rarely have all day to get to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow or wherever and would like there to be a reliable air service from a local airport.
The National Express coach to Edinburgh takes around 13 hours. I use National Express regularly, but 13 hours is way beyond my limit.
Down here on this part of the South Coast flyBe have a dreadful reputation. Whenever I say I'm going to use flyBe, friends say things like "...don't book the last flight of the day, it doesn't operate".
The flights I've taken have all operated more or less on time. However, on my last trip I did fall foul of the infamous cabin baggage sizer; the flyBe team at SOU happily took £40 from me, which was more than I paid for the ticket.
£40 goes along way towards the cost of driving to and even parking at Heathrow, which is what I've done ever since.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’