Flyglobespan

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Flyglobespan
FlyGSM.png
IATA
Y2
ICAO
GSM
Callsign
GLOBESPAN
Founded November 2002
Commenced operations April 2003
Ceased operations 16 December 2009
Operating bases Aberdeen Airport
Edinburgh Airport
Glasgow International Airport
Fleet size 9
Destinations 24 (all now suspended)
Company slogan Award Winning Airline
Parent company Globespan Group plc
Headquarters Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Key people Tom Dalrymple (Chairman)
Website www.flyglobespan.com

Flyglobespan was a British low-cost airline based in Edinburgh, Scotland.[1] It formerly operated scheduled services from five airports across the UK and Ireland to destinations in Europe, North America, North Africa and South Africa. Its main bases were Glasgow International Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Aberdeen Airport. The airline's slogan was "Award-winning airline". It went into administration due to financial problems and the airline declared bankruptcy on 16 December 2009.[2] Because of the administration, Flyglobespan cancelled all of its scheduled flights.[3] As of 14 December 2010, the business was formally declared to be in liquidation.

History[edit]

Flyglobespan Boeing 767-319 taxiing for take off at Glasgow International Airport,

Flyglobespan (a trading name for Globespan Airways Limited) was established in November 2002 as an offshoot of the Globespan Group. Operations started in April 2003 using two Boeing 737-300 aircraft provided by Channel Express on services from Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport to five destinations in Spain, France and Italy.

Globespan, an Edinburgh-based tour operator with over 30 years experience, already offered scheduled and charter flights, cruise travel, rail and coach travel, motor home and car rental, and hotel accommodation tailored for holidaymakers visiting destinations in Canada, the USA and Spain. The scheduled flights, mainly to Canada, were operated by Air Transat from airports throughout the UK, with Globespan acting as the booking agent and selling the flights under its own brand. In summer 2002, a similar arrangement was trialled between Edinburgh and Nice, in the south of France. This was to prove successful for Globespan, and led to the creation of its own no-frills brand, Flyglobespan.

Services began in 2003 with aircraft and crews provided by Channel Express, though under the Flyglobespan brand with red and white livery, offering irregular flights to European holiday destinations. The offshoot proved successful and flight frequencies were increased. At this point, the operator relocated from Prestwick to the larger Glasgow International Airport, which is much closer to the population centres of Central Scotland, within months of commencing operation. In 2004 so it could operate its own aircraft, the Globespan Group bought the defunct airline operator Cougar Leasing along with its CAA Aircraft Operating Certificate. Now with its own Operating Licence, expansion was swift for the new airline. New destinations were added to the network, including Prague, where the airline faced competition from Czech Airlines, and further points in Spain, including the Canary Islands. CSA withdrew their Glasgow to Prague service on 1 August 2005.

By March 2005 the airline had grown to offer 15 destinations across Europe, with a fleet of 9 aircraft, of which 3 were bought new, and had tripled its passenger numbers to 1.5 million annually. Profits for the year ending October 2004 had risen from £2m in its first year to £3.7m, on a turnover of £98m.[citation needed]

BBC's Watchdog programme featured the airline for a second time on 28 November 2007, where the airline was primarily featured for complaints due to a flight stopping 600 miles before its destination because the cabin crew were up to their safety limit in working hours. The CAA suspension of the airline's ETOPS licence was also featured.[citation needed]

Domestic services[edit]

In May 2005, the first domestic services were launched, with twice-daily flights from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London Stansted - routes that were already operated by the much larger low fares carrier easyJet, with much higher frequencies. However, these services were withdrawn in February 2006, together with plans to serve Bournemouth from Edinburgh.

Fuel costs[edit]

Despite high fuel costs and intense competition in the no-frills market, the airline continued to expand. Flights from London Stansted commenced in October 2005, though a new daily service between Glasgow and Amsterdam, replacing the twice daily easyJet service between the two cities, was withdrawn in June 2006 due to low passenger numbers.

On 1 November 2005, Flyglobespan announced its first long haul service from Glasgow to Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida, US. The service commenced in June 2006 and was operated by a Boeing 767 aircraft in a 3 class configuration. The three classes are Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class which includes 50 inch sleeper seats, gourmet food and wines. Alicante and Málaga services were upgraded to twice-daily throughout the summer for 2006, and Murcia was served daily. Fuerteventura was added to the winter 2006 schedule. Weekly services linking Glasgow with Athens and Heraklion were launched in May 2006 for the summer season. In January 2006 Flyglobespan announced a 70% rise in pre-tax profits from the previous year.[citation needed] In June 2006 the airline announced plans to operate out of Aberdeen Airport now that 24-hour airport operation there had been confirmed. The first route to operate from Aberdeen was Tenerife, which commenced in winter 2006. It also announced routes to Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Murcia, Palma and Paphos, which commenced in summer 2007.

Long haul expansion[edit]

Liverpool was added to the Flyglobespan network from November 2006, with flights to Tenerife. Also added is Liverpool's first connection with Hamilton/John C. Munro International Airport from May 2007. The airline also began Liverpool's first long haul flight, to New York (JFK), using Boeing 757-200 aircraft, daily in May 2007. However, after a long series of problems with the service, due largely to reliability problems with the route's sole aircraft, which resulted in repeated massive delays on the service[4] Flyglobespan announced in early July that they would abandon the route in October of the same year, only 6 months after the service's inception.[5]

Flights to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada from Manchester started in November, with two of the three weekly flights. It also commenced a three times a week service from Manchester to Cape Town, South Africa on 4 November 2006, but this service was withdrawn at the end of the 2007 Summer season.

Flyglobespan started new services in May 2007 from Hamilton/John C. Munro International Airport, Canada to destinations in the UK and Ireland, including Doncaster-Sheffield Airport; this was the first scheduled transatlantic flight to operate from the airport. Hamilton Airport is located between Toronto and nearby Niagara Falls,[6] about 75 kilometres southwest, or an hour's drive from, Toronto's main Pearson International Airport. Hamilton Airport is about one hour away from Toronto's city centre whereas Pearson International Airport is about thirty minutes away.

Flyglobespan commenced services in May 2007 from Ireland West Airport Knock to John F. Kennedy International Airport with three services a week, and Boston Logan International Airport twice a week. Some flights from Knock to New York (GSM 201/202) made unscheduled refuelling stops at a number of remote locations including Keflavik, Iceland (though this is exception, which they a major hub); Bangor, Maine; Stephenville and St Johns Newfoundland. These refueling stops were scheduled when a 737-800 was used instead of the usual 757-200.

Since 2007, Flyglobespan has had its Skytrax rating withdrawn and suspended due to "product and service inconsistancy". The airline had not regained its rating.[7]

Financial difficulties[edit]

In July 2008, Globespan lost its ability to get insurance industry credit card repayment cover, before the collapse of Zoom and XL. From that point, credit card clearing company E-Clear, whose CEO was Elias Elia, rather than paying the normal amounts of cash to Globespan, argued that in certain cases passengers could make valid claims against them via the credit card companies up to six months after having taken their flight. E-Clear hence held a greater amount of money paid through them to Globespan.[8]

By October 2009, the amount of money owed by E-Clear to Globespan was in dispute, claimed later by Globespan to be £35M. After various discussions, Globespan asked E-Clear to agree to independent audit of the sums, which was turned down by E-Clear. Also at this point, a company called Halcyon Investments, the operational arm of an August 2008 Jersey-based trust fund, offered to make a large investment in Globespan. Halcyon's investors included Elias Elia.[8]

In November 2009 The Independent on Sunday reported that FlyGlobespan had required a 'last-ditch cash injection' as a result of cash flow difficulties caused following delays in payment by a credit card clearing company, E-Clear.[9]

Concerns regarding the future of the airline resurfaced on 13 December 2009 when multiple newspapers reported that Flyglobespan has so far been unsuccessful in obtaining regulatory approval for the funding package from Halcyon Investments. The Guardian newspaper has suggested that Halcyon Investments is controlled by E-Clear.[10] The company stated it had "secured a financial investment package that will see Scotland's leading airline continue to prosper and grow".

Administration[edit]

The Globespan Group PLC, Globespan Airways Limited and Alba Ground Handling Limited ceased operations on 16 December 2009 and were placed into administration on 17 December with PricewaterhouseCoopers appointed as the administrator. The last flight was GSM706 from Hurghada to Glasgow which landed at 2230 on 16 December.

On 19 January 2010 a High Court judge granted an administration order following a request from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), against credit card processing firm E-Clear UK,[11] which handled all of Globespans Credit Card transactions.

Bruce Cartwright, Joint Administrator, of PricewaterhouseCoopers stated after E-Clear UK's Administration that it was clear the funds withheld from the Globespan Group were "no longer there".[citation needed]

Destinations[edit]

It was announced in July 2007 that the current Liverpool to New York and the Ireland West Airport Knock service would be suspended for the winter season from October 30. The company gave the reason as poor passenger figures on the Liverpool flights, particularly inbound passengers from the United States. The passenger figures for Ireland West Airport Knock were higher than expected. The company also admitted to providing a poor operating service since the route was launched on 25 May 2007, which affected the passenger figures. The route will recommence for the Summer 2008 season.[12] The poor operating service was compounded by some PR own goals and sub-standard customer service.[13][14]

It was announced on 18 October 2007 that the CAA had suspended Flyglobespan's ETOPS certificate, the first time in 15 years a UK operator has lost ETOPS approval. This effectively meant Flyglobespan transatlantic flights were forced to adopt a flight path which never took the aircraft more than an hour away from the nearest airport, in case of engine problems. However, this only applied to Flyglobespan's own aircraft and leased-in aircraft could continue to follow ETOPS rules as these are operated by other airlines with their own ETOPS approval.[15] Flyglobespans ETOPS rating was reinstated at a CAA hearing on 26 October 2007.

Flyglobespan operated services to the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island on behalf of the UK Government. This was in support of the military and civilian communities of those islands, and involved long-haul flights between RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, RAF Ascension Island, and RAF Mount Pleasant on East Falkland. These flights are now supplied by Air Italy on a temporary basis, before another airline puts in for a permanent basis.[16]

The company also operated flights for the UK Ministry of Defence between RAF Brize Norton and staging posts in the Middle East in support of the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flyglobespan were planning on introducing a new service in 2010 from Cardiff Airport and Edinburgh Airport to Orlando-Sanford, weekly flights would have departed on a Wednesday from Cardiff and on a Sunday from Edinburgh, renewing direct links with Wales and the USA and a brand new service from Edinburgh.

Fleet[edit]

The Flyglobespan fleet included the following aircraft as of 16 December 2009 prior to ceasing operations:[17]

Flyglobespan Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers Notes
Boeing 737-700 2 0 148
Boeing 737-800 3 2 189
Boeing 767-300ER 4 0 276
Boeing 787-8 0 2 TBA Were to be leased from ILFC. Orders Cancelled
Total 9 4

As of 16 December 2009, Flyglobespan's average fleet age was 6.3 years, prior to ceasing operations.[18]

Aircraft orders[edit]

Flyglobespan announced in August 2006 that it would lease two Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners from the International Lease Finance Corporation for ten years, to be delivered in March and November 2011.[19] Due to the administration placed on 16 December 2009, the orders were cancelled.

Statistics[edit]

Number of Passengers[20] Number of Flights[21] Load Factor[22]
2005 929,552 7,952 79.2%
2006 1,489,377 11,625 82.5%
2007 2,060,727 15,980 82.2%
2008 1,634,900 12,197 79.6%
Source: UK Civil Aviation Authority [23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Contact Us." flyglobespan. Retrieved on 16 November 2009.
  2. ^ Flyglobespan goes into administration
  3. ^ 16/12/2009 - 18:48:24 (2009-12-16). "Scottish airline goes into administration". BreakingNews.ie. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  4. ^ Read over 200 FlyGlobespan Reviews and compare FlyGlobespan Passenger Reports about FlyGlobespan product and service standards
  5. ^ "Airline to stop New York flights". BBC News. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  6. ^ Google Maps
  7. ^ "FlyGlobespan Star Rating". Airlinequality.com. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  8. ^ a b Douglas Fraser (2009-12-18). "Globespan's missing millions - part three". BBC Scotland. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  9. ^ Evans, Simon (15 November 2009). "Last-gasp cash keeps airline flying – for now". London: Independent. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Bowers, Simon (13 December 2009). "Scottish budget airline faces collapse as rescue delayed". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  11. ^ "Flyglobespan ticket firm in administration". BBC News. 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  12. ^ Industry Watch
  13. ^ TV coverage in Ireland
  14. ^ Travel Partner's experience
  15. ^ "Airline has a licence suspended". BBC News. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  16. ^ "Air Italy takes over air bridge UK/Falklands for the next few weeks". Mercopress. 18 December 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2009. 
  17. ^ UK CAA Aircraft Register
  18. ^ Airfleets Airline fleet age
  19. ^ Boeing 787 leasing
  20. ^ Number of Passengers including both domestic and international.
  21. ^ Number of Flights represents total flights during that year.
  22. ^ Load Factor represents number of seat-km used as a proportion of number of seat-km available.
  23. ^ "UK Airline Statistics | Aviation Intelligence | About the CAA". Caa.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 

External links[edit]