First flight of brand new plane
09:19 04 April 2014
Holidaymakers from Exmouth could be jetting off to sunnier climes in a brand new aircraft this summer.
On Thursday Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, celebrated the inaugural flight of its signature purple Bombardier Q400 aircraft.
The plane took to the skies on its first passenger flight between Exeter and Manchester, showcasing the cabin crew’s new purple uniform and on-board purple mood lighting, both of which will be rolled out across Flybe’s entire fleet in coming months.
The aircraft looks like a blast from the past, with its distinctive two-propellered design – technically dubbed a turboprop – giving the plane a distinct 1940s feel.
But retro design is just an illusion – the Q400 is the most technologically advanced turboprop airliner in operation, and uses 30 per cent less fuel than the aircraft it replaced.
At just under the 33 metres in length the airliner is on the diminutive side, but with a maximum cruising speed of 414mph it is ideal for short-haul flights to Europe or internal flights within Great Britain.
Chief Executive Officer, Saad Hammad greeted surprised passengers at a purple pre-flight party at Exeter International Airport where they were treated to a selection of distinctive purple refreshments and a musical send-off by purple-clad members of the Exeter Youth Jazz Orchestra.
Mr Hammad said: “This is a memorable day for Flybe. Today’s flight reflects the start of our exciting new journey as we move to become the UK’s local airline of choice with a focus on time-saving and punctual travel for our regional customers.”
“Purple is not just our new brand colour, it reflects our passion for delivering on our commitment to being faster than rail and road – ‘The Fastest Way from A to Flybe’.”
Matt Roach, Exeter Airport’s managing director said: “We are very pleased to be able to play a part in this important event and the new aircraft livery has certainly created a buzz of excitement around the airport. We wish Flybe every success with their new look at the start of an exciting chapter in the airline’s history.”