Flybe records spike in last-minute flights after Storm Angus travel chaos

Rebecca Smith
Passengers opted for alternative travel arrangements during disruption from the storm
Passengers opted for alternative travel arrangements during disruption from the storm (Source: Getty)

Storm Angus has caused havoc for the UK over the past few days, after the nation braced itself for 80mph winds and flooding.

But Flybe's found a silver lining - well, for itself anyway. The Exeter-based airline reported a 77 per cent increase in last-minute sales this week for routes from Cardiff and Exeter to London City and Newquay to London Gatwick airport.

It came after significant disruption to national rail services in the aftermath of Storm Angus, as travellers hastily sought alternative arrangements.

Read more: Storm Angus set to batter London tonight and could disrupt Monday commutes

Passengers hoping to travel across Great Western Railway routes were told not to travel on Monday, after severe flooding at a number of locations, trains between Cardiff and London Paddington were cancelled, while delays also affected Leeds, Manchester Victoria, Sheffield, Kings Cross and London Waterloo.

Last month, Flybe said flights between Cardiff and London City airports would continue as long as the demand existed. The carrier initially launched a three-times-a-day service until 21 October while the Severn Tunnel was closed as part of the rail electrification programme.

But it extended it after "very promising" uptake, with 95 per cent of passengers surveyed saying they would continue to use it.

The average flight time is an hour (though it has a record journey time of 35 minutes).

Flybe said daily flights between Exeter and London City, as well as multi-daily services from Newquay to London Gatwick, had recorded additional demand with flights full to capacity, as travellers sought routes to avoid delays on the London to Penzane rail line at Exeter.

Read more: Flybe boss wants national focus on regional issues over Heathrow v Gatwic

It compared sales this past week for travel within three days to the average of the previous two weeks on these three routes.

Flybe has been facing some disruption of its own recently. In October, it was announced that chief executive Saad Hammad was suddenly leaving the company after a three-year stint. The search for a new chief executive is ongoing, while chairman Simon Laffin has stepped in as executive chairman for the time being.

The airline reported pre-tax profits down 25 per cent to £15.9m in the six months ending in September as lower demand for travel across Europe failed to keep pace with Flybe's growing fleet of aircraft (ordered ahead of the slowdown). Revenue was up 12.8 per cent to £383m.

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