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Ex-Flybe man tasked with developing new routes for Exeter Airport owners

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 22, 2014

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The operator of Exeter, the City of Derry, Blackpool and Coventry Airports has appointed Steve Lilley as aviation development director for the group.

Mr Lilley, Flybe’s former head of commercial planning, joins Regional and City Airports Management (RCAM) and will be based at Exeter Airport.

He is expected to start work for the group in early February in a drive to expand the routes and develop more services to new destinations.

RCAM’s managing director John Spooner said: “We are delighted that Steve has decided to join us in a role that will focus on one of the most important priorities for the group. He has a wealth of experience in successful route development and commercial planning for airlines and we are looking forward to his work with RCAM.”

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Steve said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time within the airline industry over the last 15 years and I am very much looking forward to using this experience to help develop airports throughout the UK and Europe. It is an exciting time to be in aviation and I am very pleased that the UK’s leading operator of regional airports has asked me to join the group.”

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7 comments

  • africahand  |  February 25 2014, 6:20PM

    I concur with FatboyUK. It would be great if the new man can attract KLM to Exeter, to make this a properly connected international airport. I live 20 mins from Bristol airport and regularly use the KLM link to AMS and on to African destinations for work. We were thinking of relocating to Exeter but it's just not viable when you have to drive 80 mins back up the road to BRS. The Flybe option to AMS or CDG is no substitute as it goes at the wrong time to make the morning connections out of AMS, and is costly on top. Exeter airport offers significant benefits over Bristol – it's right next to the M5 and has bus connections, for a start. The single bus service to BRS is the expensive Temple Meads connection (unless you count the ONE daily National Express coach, which is the 2 am (!!) service from Penzance to London). At over 600 ft above sea level, it's also prone to weather problems. What's needed is an early (06:00?) departure from Exeter to AMS, and a return leaving AMS around 21:00. That would at least allow day trips for business, and facilitate connections to the KLM network. KLM could capitalise on the untapped Devon & Cornwall market for a real international link. Unless, perhaps, they're afraid of competing with themselves out of BRS…

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  • FatboyUK  |  January 29 2014, 7:27PM

    I'm not 100% convinced the introduction of more low cost carriers is the way forward...we need investment for new terminal space and facilities, and low cost carriers don't pay alot for passenger services so the airport itself will see little benefits other then passenger volume (but we as a community will due to the choice of destinations etc) I believe the solution in the short term, is to attract passengers away from Bristol with a regular, key link to a European hub, offering global connections. Securing KLM rotations to Amsterdam would prove very popular, not only from the connectivity opportunites, the world class airport and short flight (avoiding recent APD hikes) but its ability to also attract point to point passengers as a destination in its own right. With links to Bristol and Cardiff, and the rest of the UK market KLM serves, clearly shows they are commited to the regional market, and am sure they already see the catchment area (Devon and Cormwall) Exeter provides...

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  • FromMendip  |  January 25 2014, 12:24PM

    It certainly will be a struggle as Exeter, Coventry, Derry and Blackpool are outside the UK's top 20 when it comes to passengers numbers and, Derry apart (and even it has seen some significant passenger loss) , have seen huge falls in passenger traffic since 2007, albeit 2013 was a bit brighter. Coventry is now a small freight airport. What passenger traffic it once had has long departed. Exeter has had the longstanding problem of being in thrall to Flybe and doesn't have a large enough catchment to be attractive to one of the major low cost airlines, and certainly not to an important legacy carrier. Cardiff Airport, serving the capital city of Wales, has fared worse than Exeter since 2007 in percentage loss of passengers, and now handles just over one million a year compared with Exeter's 730,000. Out of desperation the Wales government bought Cardiff Airport with public money at what many experts believe to be an inflated price and is now using more tax payers' money to try to attract carriers to use the place, thus far with very limited success. That shows the scale of the problem facing Exeter. Airlines look for economy of scale and it's extremely unlikely that any major additions will occur at Exeter Airport. Unless a lot more inbound tourism and business passengers can be snared where will the passenger numbers come from to justify a much increased network? Exeter's niche is really as a steady and competent small regional airport serving the main sun routes and those business centres in the UK and Europe that are realistic and in the main are already served.

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  • nick113  |  January 24 2014, 8:57AM

    Mr Lilley will have his work cut out. New routes to Derry, Blackpool, Coventry or Exeter? I think Exeter is probably the most promising of those, and we've lost many routes in the last couple of years.

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  • Gatesy668  |  January 22 2014, 3:31PM

    I think you would be pleasantly surprised now if you fly with Ryanair, I think they have taken a chill pill. You're allowed to take on more baggage now and also from next month they are allocating seats so unless you want to pre book an extra leg seat etc no worries. They're not always on the t annoy every two minutes either I am very impressed, I have traveled many times with them. Go on give them a go you will be pleasantly surprised and have extra money in your pocket.

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  • ziggyblue  |  January 22 2014, 12:10PM

    I am more than happy to fly with Flybe and would prefer to fly with them at slightly more but with less stress than Ryanair. Can we have Exeter to Seville route pls.

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  • Gatesy668  |  January 22 2014, 11:18AM

    I hope you introduce new airlines along with new routes and bring the prices down, flybe is supposed to be a low cost airline but when you add everything up you could fly with all included at one price. Please give us some more choice.

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