Flybe has suspended plans to fly from London Heathrow, saying the fees charged by the airport are too high for a regional airline with small aircraft.
They had intended to use the vacant slots to fly to Scotland.
The 14 pairs of slots are reserved for UK domestic destinations. They have been available since Virgin axed its Little Red domestic service in 2014, which operated direct flights from Aberdeen and Edinburgh to Heathrow.
The slots became available in 2012 when British Airways was forced to give them up as a condition for its takeover of bmi.
British Airways is the only airline flying between Scotland and Heathrow.
FlyBe CEO, Saad Hammad:
“It is clear that the allocation of Heathrow slots to domestic regional operators is futile if the airport’s rigid charging regime cannot be adjusted to accommodate smaller aircraft.
“It is unreasonable to expect operators of 78-118 seat aircraft to absorb the same charges levied on carriers operating those with 850 or more.”
Flybe is the largest independent regional airline in Europe, based in Exeter, operating more UK domestic flights than any other airline.
Airport Coordination Limited (ACL) controls slot allocation at Heathrow.
Agroup of 8 airlines own ACL:
- British Airways (BA)
- easyJet (U2)
- Flybe (BE)
- Jet2 (LS)
- Monarch (ZB)
- Thomas Cook (MT)
- Thomson (BY)
- Virgin Atlantic (VS)
Today ACL is responsible for slot allocation at 28 airports in the UK and the EU, plus Dubai International and Al MAktoum International airports in Dubai as well as 4 airports in New Zealand.
N.B. Image credit: Flybe