Exeter-based regional airline Flybe was one of several operators to cease flying in 2020. When it collapsed last March, the British carrier left behind a fairly sizeable fleet, dominated by Dash 8 turboprops. Brazilian manufacturer Embraer also had a small presence in the form of its regional jets. But where have these various aircraft ended up? Let’s take a look.

Thomas-Boon-Flybe (1)
Flybe had hubs and focus cities located throughout the UK. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Flybe’s former fleet

Over the years, Flybe operated a wide variety of aircraft types on its domestic and short-haul international services to and from the UK. Indeed, data from ch-aviation.com shows that it has flown both turboprop and regional jet designs from a diverse list of manufacturers, consisting of ATR, British Aerospace, Bombardier, De Havilland Canada, and Embraer.

However, as we are looking at the fates of the aircraft that Flybe was operating at the time of its collapse, it is important to establish exactly which planes were in its fleet as of March 2020. As far as regional jets were concerned, they had comparatively minimal representation. In the end, Flybe had just nine 88-seat Embraer 175s.

On the other hand, turboprop-powered aircraft were far more numerous in Flybe’s final fleet last year. All in all, it was operating 54 De Havilland Dash 8-Q400s at the time of its demise, making it the world’s largest operator of these 78-seat high-winged planes.

Flybe Embraer 175
Flybe only had a handful of Embraer 175s left at the end of its operations. Photo: Rob Hodgkins via Flickr

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The fates of the Dash 8s

The 54 aircraft from Flybe’s sizeable former Dash 8-Q400 fleet have had interesting and varied lives since the airline collapsed. In the first instance, these aircraft went on / back to lessors after periods of storage throughout the UK in early to mid-2020. These included Chorus Aviation, HEH Aviation, Norddeutsche Landesbank, and Nordic Aviation Capital.

However, since then, they have gone, or will go, on to serve an interesting and diverse variety of roles. For example, several have joined or will join Luxwing, operating services on behalf of Italian virtual airline startup Sky Alps, which recently commenced operations.

Meanwhile, G-KKEV has joined Canada’s Conair Aviation. Here, it has been converted for use as a water bomber to help fight forest fires. It is one of 11 ex-Flybe planes making this switch. Elsewhere, G-ECOI has joined Australia’s Cobham Aviation. Sadly, the vast majority remain in storage, waiting to be leased to a new user, wherever that may be.

Flybe Dash 8
The Dash 8 was the backbone of Flybe’s fleet, and a common sight at a variety of airports across the UK. Photo: Jake Hardiman – Simple Flying

Where did the Embraers end up?

In an immediate sense, Flybe’s nine Embraer 175 regional jets were transferred to various lessors. Six that it had acquired brand-new fell into the ownership of a Bermudan company known as Flybe leasing, with another going to CAW Finance Corp (USA).

The remaining two returned to their original lessor, German’s HEH Aviation. Of course, all nine spent March to July (eight aircraft) and August (one aircraft) of 2020 in storage at several of Flybe’s former bases in the UK. One (G-FBJJ) was even impounded in Manchester. None have re-entered service, and remain in storage abroad under their new ownership.

What are your memories of traveling with Flybe? Did you prefer its Dash 8 turboprops or its Embraer regional jets? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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