flybe. (BE, Exeter) has announced that, following a comprehensive review of its regional aircraft options, it will reduce its fleet size to 70 aircraft in 2020, down from a peak of 85 in May 2017. The move is part of restructuring exercise aimed at increasing the carrier's long-term sustainability following a recent failed bid to pair up with Stobart Group.

In a stock exchange filing, the UK-based regional carrier said it had now decided to base its current and future fleeting needs around the Dash 8-400 while pruning its network of unprofitable routes.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Flybe. currently operates 81 aircraft including two ATR72-500s (wet-leased from Stobart Air (RE, Dublin Int'l)), five ATR72-600s, fifty-four Dash 8-400s, eleven EMB-175s (with a further four due on order from Embraer), and nine EMB-195s. It serves 80 destinations across 18 countries spanning the British Isles, as well as Western, Central, and Eastern Europe.

As such, while it will retain its EMB-175s, even taking delivery of its remaining ordered aircraft in 2019, it will phase out its EMB-195s. Over the past twelve months, six older end-of-lease Q400s have also been returned leaving its remaining Bombardier turboprop fleet with an average age of just over 10 years.

"The Q400 is faster than the alternative turboprops, with a performance close to jet aircraft over the relatively short sectors that Flybe operates," it said. "The airline has accordingly concluded that it will retain its remaining Q400 aircraft and, where economic, extend their service lives. This will save considerable capital expenditure over the next few years, by avoiding the requirement to acquire new aircraft."

As stands, aside from the four EMB-175s due, Flybe is not planning any additional new aircraft orders for the foreseeable future.