In a surprise move Easyjet said today that it would launch flights between Glasgow and Birmingham next year.
According to The Scotsman the move comes as Easyjet is expanding operations at Scotland’s second busiest airport.
Initially there will be up to two flights a day when the service launches on March 29, 2020.
Exact schedules have yet to be finalised. And expect other routes to be announced in future.
However should incumbent Flybe (which holds the monopoly) withdraw from the route it’s likely that Easyjet would boost its service.
Would Flybe cease flying Birmingham-Glasgow? Aviation history worldwide shows that turboprop aircraft cannot compete with jets when airlines fly side-by-side.
Once travellers experience the faster, smoother flights they switch airlines.
Easyjet will ply this route with its modern Airbus aircraft, whereas Flybe relies on its Dash-8 which, unfortunately, do not have the best reputation for reliability.
Flybe’s main advantage, at the time of writing is that it operates a more frequent schedule than that initially proposed by Easyjet.
As Birmingham-Glasgow is a prime business route schedule reliability is of the essence.
And although Flybe did say that it wanted to solve the reliability problems, passenger feedback indicates that the airline must still cancel flights (including this route) now and again because of technical issues with its Dash-8s.
Quoted in The Scotsman, Easyjet said it was “more efficient than other airlines, flying fuller, newer and more fuel-efficient planes. Many people think airlines are the same. They’re not.”
Currently Flybe operates Birmingham-Glasgow up to seven times a day. Its Dash-8s carry roughly half the number of travellers compared to one of Easyjet’s Airbuses.
There is also a direct rail link with Virgin Trains every two hours, with a journey time of around four hours. Every other hour it means a change in Carlisle with a roughly four hour 30 minute journey time.
However rail is expected to become more competitive in the future.
Virgin Trains will lose its West Coast franchise in December. It was announced today that the new franchise holder will be First Trenitalia which has pledged to make improvements across the network.
First Group Trenitalia has little choice but to make improvements as it must boost passenger volume to pay its hefty franchise fees to the government.