Saad Hammad, the previous Chief Operating Officer of Flybe, created “Project Blackbird” to resolve the problem of nine Embraer E195 in the fleet whose capacity at 118 seats had proved too large for the route structure.
Cardiff Airport is the beneficiary of two and their presence has been a boon for passenger numbers through the airport. However, over the next couple of years as their leases come to an end, they will disappear from the fleet with no indication of a direct replacement or the need for one.
But there is movement…
The Stobart Group has purchsed three Embraer E195 jets currently on lease to Flybe from the German lessor GOAL. They are due to be returned off-lease by Flybe in late 2018 and it may be that Stobart Air may use them at that time to replace the two presently sub-leased from Flybe or perhaps the latter are part of this purchase.
Meanwhile, Jota Aviation, a growing wet-lease and charter company based at Southend, will be Hop!-ping across the channel to give the Air France regional airline support in the form of two regional jets (Bae ARJ85 and ARJ100) after they have finished providing cover to Stobart Air at Southend for one of the two Embraer E195 jets due from Flybe and not yet available.
Further developments are expected shortly, especially affecting Cardiff Airport and the soon to released summer 2018 schedules.