October 12, 2017 / 3:34 PM / 8 days ago

Flybe eyes Ryanair cancellations to push its flights

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - British regional airline Flybe sees high-profile cancellations by Ryanair after a rostering failure as a chance to boost its brand, its CEO told Reuters.

Ryanair has cancelled 700,000 seats and suspended 34 routes this winter after a pilot shortage left it unable to staff its planes.

Some of the routes cancelled include UK domestic routes between London and Scotland, where Flybe operates.

“We launched some promotions, just make sure we are visible. We’re trying to raise awareness, people are discovering they can fly Flybe,” CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener told Reuters on the sidelines of the CAPA global summit in London.

It’s been a turbulent summer for European airlines, with the Ryanair cancellations plus British holiday airline Monarch and Germany’s Air Berlin going bust.

Some analysts believe the collapses could help ease some pressure on ticket pressures and boost airline profits. Ourmieres-Widener said for Flybe the yield situation was as previously expected and that with a average flight time of 53 minutes, consumers have certain price expectations.

Ourmieres-Widener said Flybe was looking at chartering additional aircraft this winter in light of the Monarch collapse, but that any major capacity changes would be seen more next summer.

“Airlines publish their network one year in advance, so your flexibility during one season is not so big,” she said.

Flybe had a code share deal with Air Berlin and she said Flybe was open to working with any carrier in the German market that wanted to improve its UK connections.

Lufthansa on Thursday signed a deal to take over large parts of Air Berlin.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan, editing by David Evans

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