The once tiny airport of Exeter has now grown and is set to handle around 800,000 passengers this financial year alone. For a small regional airport serving a relatively small city, this is an excellent effort at attracting passengers. More so given that Bristol International Airport is just an hour up the M5. However, Exeter International Airport could not have grown as rapidly as it has without the support of Flybe.
Flybe has made itself into one of Europe’s most successful budget airlines through shrewd route selection and excellent service. This summer you can fly from Exeter to Palma in Majorca or Brest on the Brittany coast. The airline will have 13 routes from Exeter come June, serving the Channel Islands, Paris, Dublin and Liverpool among others.
Flybe is using Exeter as a viable regional airport to expand its business, proving you do not need to be in the south-east to be a profitable budget carrier.
A new three-million passenger capacity terminal is in the pipeline, to cope with additional scheduled flights demanded by local businesses and a shift in holidaymakers looking to their local airport to provide flights instead of Gatwick.
Exeter is an excellent example of how a regional airport has risen from almost nothing to an important part of the economic vibrancy of a region in less than 20 years.