Government looks at APD to help Flybe
In the last couple of days reports have emerged that suggest that Flybe needs further funding to help survive the winter offseason. This comes only a short time after Flybe’s new owners, Connect Airways, a group which includes Virgin Atlantic spent tens of millions to help rescue Flybe last year.
Today Transport Minister Grant Shapps is holding talks about potentially cutting air passenger taxes on all domestic flights to help it survive. In order to comply with European rules about state funding, the government can’t just make an exception for Flybe. Flybe argues that they are being unfairly penalised on its many domestic routes as passengers have to pay APD twice on a journey, making it disapproproaitaly more expensive that rail journeys according to them (not sure about his – have they seen the price of rail tickets recently?). Even the Prime Minister has recognised the importance that Flybe has in connecting the regions if the country. Flybe’s network of routes includes more than half of UK domestic flights outside London.
“It is not for government to step in and save companies that simply run into trouble, but be in no doubt that we see the importance of Flybe in delivering connectivity across the whole United Kingdom,” Johnson told BBC television.
Flybe is in a fairly unique position as a primary operator at many smaller airports. For example, my local airport Southampton is dominated by Flybe, and if that were to disappear, I can not see how it could continue to function.
Qatar introduces QSuite to Manchester
Qatar currently has the QSuites from London Heathrow (I will be flying on Qatar’s A350-1000 with them next week hopefully). Qatar Airways has now announced that its award-winning Business Class experience, Qsuite, will launch on flights to and from Manchester in February. Qsuite is due to launch on the QR027/28 service from 14 February and then added to the QR021/022 service from 1 March.
The announcement comes just six months after Qatar Airways increased its flight frequency from Manchester Airport to three flights a day, demonstrating the airline’s confidence in and commitment to the UK market. Qsuite will operate on two of the three services by March 1.
Patented by Qatar Airways, Qsuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed available in Business Class, as well as private cabins for up to four people with privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry. Adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite, allowing them to work, dine and socialise together.
Qsuite is currently available on select Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Airbus A350-900 and A350-1000 aircraft.
You can read all our reviews of Qatar’s QSuites here.
Qatar sale extended
Qatar Airways have a sale on currently which has some great value fares on its ex EU routes. You can find a full list of all the Qatar sale fares in this article. The sale has now been extended for a further 2 days and will end on 15 January 2020. See also the UK to Australia fare on Qatar I wrote about yesterday.
You can find the Qatar sale page here.