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vs773er
Topic Author
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2004 8:19 pm

UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:35 pm

Hi,

Would a UK-based regional/domestic only airline servce be possible?

I realise there may be alot of logistical hurdles to overcome, not to mention regulations & red-tape that would perhaps prevent this from becoming a profitable reality, but I do believe the UK would benefit from it, so would it be worth some brave individual having a go!?

The nations roads are crap and will only ever get worse, not to mention more and more costly (If the governent had their way). There are a massive amount of ex-military airstrips throughout the UK all being near popular large and small towns, which are becoming ever-more populated. They are currently redundant or used for recreation - would a no frills, airline using twin props with up to 20 seats be able to operate with minimum fuss from them?

Would love some feedback, on all levels so work out whether it's just a pipe dream.

VS773ER
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gkirk
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:42 pm

Someone like Eastern Airways you mean?  Wink
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vs773er
Topic Author
Posts: 238
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:07 pm

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 1):
Someone like Eastern Airways you mean?  

Kind of, but even smaller in operational terms.

A few months ago I visited a local Parachute jump centre. They operated 2 GAF Nomad's that are constantly up and down, refuled and quickly checked, loaded then back up again, they look ultra efficient and very little fuss.
I watched this alone, time after time, i'm sure they had procedures and systems to ensure the safe execution of every cycle but it worked fluidly - the ac was only on the ground minimum time.

Obviously with longer routes between 2 destination would require more ground time and prep, but the operation seemed not to require a major airport with all the facilities, and why not? Because a domestic airline wouldn't need as many amenities & systems would it?
Would people, just wanting to hop between to major towns on a 20 - 40 min journey, want the fuss of waiting around 2hrs for the pleasure of it!? Apart from security, (and at what level?) what would stop someone driving 2, 3, 4miles to their local airstrip, parking, showing their e-ticket to a small group of individuals at the desk, going through the security, and going airside to either wait a short time for a plane or boarding it straight way?

I am sounding very niave I know, so please, someone put me straight - shoot me down, let the usual sarcasm and patrionising begin!
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ACEregular
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:16 pm

Quoting VS773ER (Reply 2):
I am sounding very niave I know, so please, someone put me straight - shoot me down, let the usual sarcasm and patrionising begin!

AIRLINERS.NET, Never!!
 
Candid76
Posts: 562
Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 5:10 am

RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:00 pm

Quoting Gkirk (Reply 1):
Someone like Eastern Airways you mean?



Quoting VS773ER (Reply 2):
Kind of, but even smaller in operational terms.

It wouldn't be too difficult to be smaller than Eastern, considering T3 have 30 aircraft and an extensive route network which would take years for a regional start up to match. I suppose more like Manx 2 or British North West or Lydd Air or the proposed Alpha 1, or FlyKeen... yes, it's been done before but these carriers tend to come and go. A small carrier with a couple of carefully chosen domestic routes linking places badly served by road and rail and underpinned by a strong traffic flow from particular corporate users, along with a good ad-hoc charter product particularly at weekends could work.
 
vs773er
Topic Author
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:29 pm

Quoting Candid76 (Reply 4):
A small carrier with a couple of carefully chosen domestic routes linking places badly served by road and rail and underpinned by a strong traffic flow from particular corporate users, along with a good ad-hoc charter product particularly at weekends could work.

That's the spirit.

A niché could be an exaggerrated version of FR, instead of using existing commercial airports, could make proper use of the hundreds of airstrips litterting the UK.

Linking towns rather than cities, like a shuttle bus but in the air.
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ACEregular
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:42 pm

I wish someone would make use of Carlise, yes its still in the Catchment of GLA, NCL and MAN but why not it has a runway.
 
Candid76
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:44 pm

Quoting VS773ER (Reply 5):
A niché could be an exaggerrated version of FR, instead of using existing commercial airports, could make proper use of the hundreds of airstrips litterting the UK.

Oh if only life was so easy. As long as all these airstrips provide passenger processing facilities including full security screening along with all the other requirements of modern aviation security as well as sufficient fire cover (which currently some fairly obvious airfields like Carlisle lack, hence they have no services) then all will be well.

In reality most of these places will only ever support private general aviation if it all.
 
djmatthews
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:47 pm

I would love a reasonably priced GLA-HUY route or even PIK-HUY.

I would personally steer clear of domestic operations unless you can fuel an aeroplane on fresh air. All political parties seem to be jumping on the ‘environmental bandwagon’ regarding domestic flights.

The reality is trains are expensive, have a complicated fare structure and are overcrowded and much slower now than they used to be. If the government is really concerned about the environment and wants to get people off planes and onto trains then the rail network needs serious amounts of cash spent on it. Bring on Maglev!!!!
 
vs773er
Topic Author
Posts: 238
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:54 pm

Quoting Candid76 (Reply 7):
As long as all these airstrips provide passenger processing facilities including full security screening along with all the other requirements of modern aviation security

Which is what for a domestic only service? there would have no customs issue, so costs saved there will aid a security set-up.
Ones the mould is broken all sorts of ventures would support these hidden strips. In reality only a few would support frequent activity, mosy would, I imagine only play host 2/3 times a day, if more then the market drives it anyway and costs can be clawed back.

[Edited 2007-10-02 12:56:24]
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Bongodog1964
Posts: 3542
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 7:55 pm

Quoting Djmatthews (Reply 8):
The reality is trains are expensive, have a complicated fare structure

The reality is that the trains are sometimes expensive, but if you purchase your ticket far enough in advance usually cheap.

The main drawback is though that there price structure is still firmly rooted in the pre internet age. Remember when airlines quoted many different fares all for the same seat; wherby you paid price A if you wanted to fly out on Monday return on Tuesday (obviously business so sting them), but a different price if you flew out on Monday and didn't returm until the following Monday (Included a Saturday night so obviously leisure). Rail tickets still seem to work this way.

If they had a clear demand led pricing structure, as used by the LCC's you could look at the trains and decide when to travel according to your budget.
 
Rivet42
Posts: 608
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:32 pm

The answer to your question is in the fate of all those airlines who have started up doing just what you are thinking about. Where are they now? Scot Airways, Brymon Aviation, Air Anglia, Air Cymru, to name a few.

If they cannot sustain a profitable service, they die. If they can, they inevitably try to expand, and end up being gobbled up by a larger airline looking for feeder routes, which then become 'rationalised' in times of economic hardship, and end up being discontinued altogether.

It's a cyclical process, driven largely by one glaring piece of reality: business travel in UK (which is what sustains such operations) is very much London-centric in nature due to the geographic spread of population, and whilst these routes are very much in the hands of the big players, it's very difficult to find a steady flow of customers on routes not involving London to maintain a viable service. It is possible, as Eastern Airways are proving, although I don't know what their margins are like, nor who their major stakeholders are. But it is a very difficult market for a new entrant to survive in, without ending up as a part of a feeder network into a larger international market. Also most of our regional airports are not close to city centres, unlike the majority of train stations, which makes it difficult to compete effectively with what is still a very comprehensive, though at times disfunctional, rail network. A good example of this is the Bristol-London route. There is a lot of business travel including commuting to/from London, yet there has never been a viable air link, for exactly the reasons stated above.

You may wish to look at Air SouthWest. They have been making a go of some former Brymon routes, and a few new ones, with mixed results. I wonder what their future is...

Riv'
I travel, therefore I am.
 
Humberside
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RE: UK Regional Domestic Airline - Feedback Pls?

Wed Oct 03, 2007 2:37 am

Quoting ACEregular (Reply 6):
I wish someone would make use of Carlise, yes its still in the Catchment of GLA, NCL and MAN but why not it has a runway.

Carlisle is being upgraded so once that is complete they will have a better chance of attracting airlines

Quoting Djmatthews (Reply 8):
I would love a reasonably priced GLA-HUY route or even PIK-HUY.

I wouldnt mind seeing that either

Quoting Rivet42 (Reply 11):
It is possible, as Eastern Airways are proving, although I don't know what their margins are like, nor who their major stakeholders are.

T3 are owned by Richard Lake and Bryan Huxford, MD and Chairman respectively I think. Averaeg loads are 50-55%. You might like to read this article for more about them

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...the-norm-with-eastern-airways.html
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