Flybe targets business travellers as it expands services to London

Airline is hoping to attract business travellers from London’s financial districts

Flybe will add routes between London City Airport and destinations in the UK and Ireland in a push to attract business travellers.

The airline said it will deploy five planes to serve Edinburgh and Dublin four times daily, Belfast and Exeter three times a day and Inverness twice daily.

The new services starting October 27 will attract about 500,000 passengers a year, and routes to skiing regions and other vacation destinations in France and Spain will follow.

Flybe plans to tap clients from London’s City and Canary Wharf financial districts by offering services from an airport faster to reach than Heathrow.

Flybe now serves London’s Gatwick, Stansted and Southend airports, and last month raised £150 million in a share placement.

"We are delighted to re-enter the London market at London's most convenient airport following a rigorous profitability analysis utilizing our strict route assessment model," Flybe chief executive Officer Saad Hammad said in the statement.

Flybe shares rose as much as 4.4 per cent to 141 pence and traded at that price at 8.06am. in London. The stock has more than tripled in 12 months, valuing the carrier at 305 million pounds.

London City is "poised for significant growth," with 120,000 takeoffs and landings planned by 2023, handling 6 million passengers, Declan Collier, CEO of the airport, said in the statement.

The airport served 3.4 million people in 2013. The Flybe agreement with London City is for 5 years.