Flyglobespan is a Scottish low-cost airline based in Edinburgh. It operates scheduled services from its hubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Aberdeen to 36 destinations in Europe, North America, the Caribbean and Africa. Its main bases are Glasgow International Airport and Edinburgh Airport, with secondary bases at other airports in Scotland and also in England. The airlines tag line is "Award winning airline".
Globespan Airways Limited trading as Flyglobespan holds a United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority Type A Operating Licence, it is permitted to carry passengers, cargo and mail on aircraft with 20 or more seats.
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 International Airport and Edinburgh Airport to 5 destinations in Spain, France and Italy.
Globespan, an Edinburgh-based tour operator with over 30 years experience, already offered a comprehensive portfolio of scheduled and charter flights, cruise travel, rail and coach travel, motor home and car rental, and hotel accommodation tailored for holidaymakers visiting popular destinations in Canada, the USA and Spain. The scheduled flights, mainly to Canada, were operated by Air Transat from a number of 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 particularly 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 Flygobespan brand with red and white livery, offering irregular flights to some of Europes most popular holiday destinations. The offshoot was to prove successful however, and frequencies were increased to maximize aircraft utilization and expand its market share. At this point, the operator relocated from Prestwick to the larger Glasgow International Airport, which is much closer to the major 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.
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.
Despite high fuel costs and intense competition in the no-frills market, the airline continues 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 the 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 is 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 have been upgraded to twice-daily throughout the summer for 2006, while Murcia is now served daily. Fuerteventura has also been added to the winter 2006 schedule, meaning all four main Canary Islands destinations will be served from Scotland. 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. In June 2006 Flyglobespan announced plans to operate out of Aberdeen International Airport now that 24 hour airport operation there has been confirmed. The first route to operate from Aberdeen is Tenerife, which commenced in winter 2006. It has also announced routes to Alicante, Barcelona, Faro, Murcia, Palma and Paphos, commencing in summer 2007.
Liverpool was added to the Flyglobespan network from November 2006, with flights to Tenerife. Also added is Liverpools first connection with Hamilton Airport from May 2007. The airline also began Liverpools 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 routes sole aircraft, which resulted in repeated massive delays on the service Flyglobespan announced in early July that they would abandon the route in October of the same year, only 6 months from the services inception.
Flights to Hamilton, Canada, from Manchester started in November, with two of the three weekly flights. It proposed to commence three times a week service Manchester to Cape Town, South Africa, on November 4, 2006 this service was cancelled.
Flyglobespan started new services in May 2007 from Hamilton Airport, Canada to various destinations in the UK and Ireland, including Doncaster-Sheffield Airport, this will be the first scheduled transatlantic flight to operate from the airport. Hamilton Airport is located between Toronto and nearby Niagara Falls, about 75 kilometres southwest, or an hours drive from, Torontos main Pearson International Airport. It should be noted that Hamilton Airport is slightly more than one hour away from Torontos city centre.
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; Bangor, Maine; Stephenville and St Johns Newfoundland. These refueling stops were scheduled when a 737-800 was used instead of the usual 757-200.
Flights will be operated from Durham Tees Valley Airport to Alicante, Jersey, Malaga, Pula, Faro, Lanzarote, Nice, Tenerife, Ibiza, Mahon and Palma de Mallorca, commencing summer 2007. Two aircraft are based at Durham Tees Valley over the summer period.
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 . The poor operating service was compounded by some PR own goals and sub-standard customer servive.
It was announced on the 18th October 2007 that the CAA had suspended Flyglobespans 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 Flyglobespans own aircraft and leased-in aircraft could continue to follow ETOPS rules as these are operated by other airlines with their own ETOPS approval. Flyglobespans ETOPS rating was reinstated at a CAA hearing on 26th October 2007.
It was stated in the Irish Independent on the 15th of January 2008 that "Flyglobespan has voluntarily surrendered the safety certification that allows it to fly the shortest route to the US" that is Ireland West Airport Knock to Boston and JFK. A flyglobespan spokesman said " he was fully confident of having the licence restored. That it is a very minor thing really,we hope to have it all sorted out in a few months and definitely before May"
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