Bust airline Flybe returns to the skies - but won't fly from Norwich

Flybe planes at Norwich International Airport - having the option to fly by plane across this countr

Flybe planes at Norwich International Airport - having the option to fly by plane across this country is a vital alternative, says David Clayton - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Once Europe's largest regional airline, Flybe is set to take to the skies once more after bouncing back from administration.

But the business has confirmed it won't be returning to Norfolk's airport having pulled out in 2019.

The regional carrier collapsed in 2020 but was bought out by Thyme Opco, which is linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital, in April 2021.

However its website is back in operation and seats for sale, confirming it will operate up to 530 flights per week across 23 routes from April 13, with current UK destinations including Edinburgh, Belfast and Southampton.

Norwich is yet to make the list.

The airport previously hosted Flybe flights to the likes of Exeter.

A spokesman for Flybe said: "All we can say at this point is that we are not done announcing new destinations.

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"Even if we aren’t flying to Norwich right away, we will definitely keep Norwich in mind as we assess future opportunities for more regional services." 

Richard Pace, managing director of Norwich Airport, said: "We’re gearing up for a busy 2022 and are back to pre-pandemic levels in terms of the number of direct destinations available, which is 19 for 2022/23, with more than 150 connections worldwide via Amsterdam.

Richard Pace, managing director, Norwich Airport.

Richard Pace, managing director, Norwich Airport. - Credit: Archant

"We have also been recruiting for more than 50 new staff to help us meet pent-up demand for holidays abroad.

"Our holiday schedule starts soon and we have year-round flights to Amsterdam, Tenerife, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Exeter.

"We are always open to exploring new route opportunities with airlines and are in contact with Flybe as they rebuild their route network.”  

Chris Scargill, tourism and leisure specialist for Larking Gowen said that a potentially return for Flybe would encourage domestic tourism to the city and wider Norfolk area.

"There's going to be a benefit for the staycation sector," he explained.

Chris Scargill, Lead Partner at Larking Gowen Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chris Scargill, Lead Partner at Larking Gowen Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

"With people being time poor, there's the opportunity to use an airline like Flybe to get from A to B quicker. It's a matter of making sure it's affordable, and hopefully they'll do that.

"Norwich itself has a lot to offer. It's a great place to come and has so much history, and it still has an excellent shopping hub."