No-frills airline flying high with £520m order for planes

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BUDGET airline flybe, formerly known as British European, today signed an order for £520 million worth of new planes, some of which will be based at Edinburgh.

The contract, with Bombardier Aerospace of Canada, involves 17 firm orders for Q400 turboprops and an option to take a further 20, making it the largest aircraft deal signed so far this year. The first of the planes will arrive in June this year, with the other 16 over the next three years.

The new aircraft will be based at Edinburgh, Belfast City Airport, the Channel Islands, Birmingham and Southampton. They could also be used at London City Airport. Flybe, which operates from 17 regional airports across the UK, already has four Q400s, having introduced the plane on its flights from Scotland to Birmingham in December 2001.

Managing director Jim French said: "The Q400 is delivering fantastically low operating costs at flybe - a benefit which we are passing directly on to our passengers with low fares as we expand our European network."

He added: "With the announcement today to standardise on the Bombardier Q400, we will drive millions of dollars in operating cost savings, and help consolidate our position as Europe’s number one regional low fares provider."