The Flybe press release on the 27th started with ...
“Flybe is celebrating 2 years flying on our popular Norwich to Dublin route with an amazing FREE FLIGHTS offer and giving away 200 return tickets!”
But that isn’t quite the whole story. Coming up to the end of the financial year, Flybe were lagging behind the passenger volumes agreed in their contract with Norwich Airport. About 172 behind.
A spokesman for Flybe explained that they had
“a commercial agreement with Norwich International Airport (NIA) to fly 70,000 passengers from the airport each year ... We are pleased, delighted and proud to say that we have exceeded that figure. Within the agreement, Flybe had committed to fly 15,000 passengers on the Norwich to Dublin route but, as of March 29, were 172 passengers short of that target.”
They’d actually flown a total of 136,000 from Norwich, nearly double the overall target. But falling short of the 15,000 figure meant a £280,000 penalty from the airport. So after some lateral thinking, they came up with a plan. Two actually.
- (1) Advertise free flights in the press release above, with a completely separate from normal booking process, publishing a simple email address for punters to get in touch.
- (2) Secondly, place an ad for actors on the StarNow website to become last minute passengers.
100 + extras for background work in Norwich on Sunday 30th and Monday 31st March.
The assignment is for a well known airline who are updating their in-flight literature etc., You will be boarding an aircraft and flying to Dublin and then flying back into Norwich airport there may be up to three flights during each day.
Photo ID will be required. Lunch and refreshments will be provided during the day. Normal day clothes will be required. A good rate of pay is on offer.
Everyone interested and available please apply by email including your phone number. If anyone is interested from anywhere outside the Norwich area (there will be a travel allowance) and can fill a car etc, please also apply with your contact number.
Please apply asap with your phone number.
Payment details: 82.38 per person per day net
Oh, and if necessary, lay on two extra planes for today and tomorrow to carry the budding extras backwards and forwards.
Trying to wriggle out of the contract, Flybe argued that they “had managed to get so close to the target ... offered the airport a one-off payment of £50,000 (more than 20% of the financial payment).” But Norwich Airport turned down the offer, demanding £140,000 (basically halving the fine). Blaming the airport’s “ridiculous, intransigent and downright greedy attitude” the Flybe spokesman insisted:
"Flybe is not prepared in this time of high fuel prices to put Flybe jobs and services to Norwich at risk and therefore, with regret, has taken the unusual step of putting on two extra flights on Monday March 31 to meet the demands of Norwich International Airport.
These flights will be full of normal fare-paying passengers. However if we do not reach the 172 target we will place temporary staff on to the flight to reach the airport's target. Flybe will 100% offset the carbon caused by this flight."
Anyone else think that "temporary staff" sounds a bit like hired in actors?