Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and UK regional carrier Flybe are ending their “white label” agreement, under which the UK airline provided short-haul services to SAS on a wet-lease basis.

Flybe has operated five ATR 72-600 turboprops on behalf of SAS, primarily out of Stockholm Arlanda on domestic Swedish and Finnish routes for the past four years, using local crews and engineering support. The aircraft operate in full SAS livery.

In recent years, SAS has increasingly switched short, thinner routes to several ACMI providers, which operate smaller aircraft than are available in SAS’s mainline fleet, as the Scandinavian carrier sought to reduce costs.

In a statement June 10, Flybe said that “due to a number of changes within the business, this contract is going to end in 2020.  Flybe will be working with SAS to assure a smooth end to our operations.   

“Flybe’s ATR aircraft will exit the wet-lease operation under a phased and managed plan during the period mid-July this year through to mid-January 2020, by which time all five aircraft will have been removed from this operation.”

SAS had not responded to a request for comment by deadline.

Flybe is in the process of being acquired by the Connect Airways consortium headed by Virgin Atlantic. The move is subject to European Union regulatory approval, which is expected over the summer.

Alan Dron