Exeter-based Flybe is the largest independent regional airline in Europe and flies more UK flights than any other airline, plus many destinations in other countries. The airline has been rated as the best in the UK and sixth worldwide in punctuality. That speaks well for Flybe maintenance, which is looking to expand its third-party work.
Flybe’s engineering and maintenance division recently extended its approvals to cover the Sukhoi Superjet 100. It has also invested in non-destructive testing, borescope and video-scope equipment. E&M Director Keith Earnden says, “new customers are being added all the time.” Recent new customers have included Air Europa and Air Dolomiti.
Earnden now has about 250 in-house staff, plus contract support of 80 people. “We have plans for some immediate significant expansion,” he says. “Recruitment is always a challenge, due to a relative shortage of engineers and technicians in the marketplace for a number of reasons. Our view is this will continue for the next few years at least, hence we are looking at expanding our existing ab initio training schemes.”
The airline shop did about 60% of its work for Flybe and 40% for other operators in 2017. The split can vary over time according to internal and external demand. “We are committed to growing our third- party business, particularly for the aircraft types we operate,” Earnden says. The carrier flies Bombardier Q400s and Embraer 195s and 175s.
The MRO director emphasizes his shop can provide a one-stop shop for the aircraft it supports, a comprehensive menu of services and experience in all the types for which it holds approvals.