Flybe has struck a commercial deal with the owner of Exeter and Norwich airports to deploy one of its Embraer E195 regional jets on a series of routes.
The airline has been trying to find use for a fleet of 14 E145s as part of an ongoing restructuring.
Today’s agreement will see work for the eighth aircraft after five were handed back to leasing companies and two started operating from Cardiff under a long-term arrangement struck in March with the Welsh government-owned airport.
The latest agreement runs for five years and will see Flybe operate an E145 on eight European routes from Exeter and Norwich from March 2016.
“Flybe is still in active discussions with other parties to redeploy the remaining six E195s and announcements will be made as appropriate,” the carrier said.
Sir Peter Rigby, chairman and founder of Regional & City Airports owner Rigby Group, said: “Since taking ownership of Norwich airport a year ago and Exeter in 2013 we have been firm on our commitment to invest in the future of both sites.
“Today, with a milestone agreement guaranteeing the continued operation of winter and summer holiday routes from both airports, we have underlined that determination with some very concrete results.”
Flybe chief executive, Saad Hammad, said: “Through today’s agreement with Regional & City Airports, Flybe is able to operate routes that will provide much enhanced regional connectivity to the people of the southwest and East Anglia, in much the same way as we have already offered to the communities of South Wales.”
The 118-seat E195 will operate multi-weekly flights from Exeter and Norwich to Alicante and Malaga, and from Exeter to Faro and Palma from March 24.
Seats go on sale from November 10 with the release of Flybe’s 2016 summer schedule.
Geneva will be added as a new ski route from Norwich while frequency will be boosted to the Swiss destination from Exeter for winter 2016.
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