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Regional airline says festive bookings up

[December 22nd 2008]

Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe, reports that bookings are up by 14% for flights over the two week festive period.

The increase in bookings compared to last year comes as a surprise given the state of the economy. The airline says that bookings for Christmas and New Year on all its routes are “extremely strong” despite the gloomy economic outlook. Last-minute bookings are said to still be “pouring in” as holidaymakers look to escape Christmas in a cold and grey UK.

The busiest day for flights says Flybe will be December 23rd as passengers try to escape the last minute rush. The low fares airline’s seven routes out of Gatwick airport are “particularly busy” as people head off for Christmas in the sun, on the ski slopes or with friends and family.

“In spite of the tough economic environment, bookings across our entire route network over the festive period are very positive,” says Flybe chief commercial officer, Mike Rutter.

“2008 has been a tough year full of many challenges for everyone and our strong seasonal sales are proof that our customers appreciate we’ve done everything possible to continue to offer a great range of affordable destinations from regions across the UK and Europe,” Rutter continues.

Most popular flights this Christmas and New Year from Flybe’s largest base, Southampton airport, are to Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Channel Islands and Dublin. Flights to France and Germany are in demand too. Demand for flights to Dusseldorf is up 118% compared to Christmas last year.

From Manchester airport the most popular flights on Flybe’s 15 routes are to the Isle of Man, up 42% on the same period in 2007, and to Paris, up 17%, and Milan, up 13%.

Overall Flybe’s five most popular routes this Christmas and New Year are between Jersey and Gatwick, Belfast and Gatwick, Belfast and Manchester, the Isle of Man and Manchester, and Guernsey and Gatwick.

“Domestic travel has proved to be the most attractive for families looking to get together over the festive season. Travelling direct from regional airports is a far more convenient option for families, as it allows them to avoid the heavily congested roads and the lengthy journey times associated with rail travel,” comments Rutter.

He adds: “There are still a number of seats left on many of our key routes, so we’d advise anyone wanting to travel over this busy time to book their seats without delay to ensure they bag the best possible fares still around".

Written by: Nick Purdom