Plane spotters were confused after recently seeing a FlyBe plane “sneak” from Leeds Bradford Airport.
On Tuesday March 15, the company logo was spotted on a plane taking off from the airport runway behind Yeadon Tarn. A number of onlookers watched it travel behind the trees before being spotted in the air.
This came as a surprise after the company went into liquidation last year. During the 2020 lockdown, the company filed for administration and ceased all operations. Like many businesses, the airline had been battling the impact of bookings during the pandemic for several months, and 2,400 jobs were lost.
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But this week, the company announced it would be making a comeback. The collapsed airline will return to the skies next month and flights will resume from Leeds Bradford Airport.
The regional carrier will operate up to 530 flights a week on 23 routes, serving airports including Belfast City, Birmingham, East Midlands, Glasgow, Heathrow and Leeds Bradford.
Its saving grace came when the business and assets were bought in April 2021 by Thyme Opco, which is linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital. Thyme Opco was renamed Flybe Limited. The airline will be based at Birmingham Airport.
But after plane spotters had already seen the FlyBe logo in the air, they were left confused about its return date. One individual said: ‘I thought they had succumbed to Covid. I assumed when I saw the plane that someone had bought the business. While another added that he had “seen a takeoff earlier and this one too”.
FlyBe confirmed Leeds live that their planes took off throughout March for training purposes only. However, official flights will start from April 13.
A FlyBe representative said: “It would have been a practice flight that people saw. Flights will start from April and a new and improved Flybe will operate up to 530 flights per week on 23 routes with more to be announced in the coming months.
“Key UK regional routes for the new airline will include Birmingham to Edinburgh, Belfast City to Birmingham, Belfast City to East Midlands, Belfast City to Leeds Bradford, Belfast City to London-Heathrow, Belfast City to Glasgow, Belfast City to Manchester and Leeds . Bradford to London-Heathrow.
“Flybe will also offer international flights from Amsterdam to Belfast City, Birmingham, East Midlands and London-Heathrow in addition to summer flights from Birmingham to Avignon and Brest, as well as from Southampton to Avignon and Toulon.”
Flybe CEO Dave Pflieger said: “We are delighted to be on sale now and to begin service next month. We believe our new flights will benefit anyone who wants lower fares and more flights to go on vacation and visit loved ones.
“Our new network will also provide better regional connectivity within the UK and between different regions of the UK and EU.”