UK regional airline Eastern Airways’ scheduled flights will operate under the Flybe brand from today (SUNDAY), which marks the official launch of a new five-year franchise partnership.

The alliance will strengthen Flybe’s route network while broadening Eastern Airways’ distribution channels, and customers will benefit from enhanced connection choices with the wider Flybe network and many of their global airline partners.

As part of the partnership, all of Eastern Airways’ routes – including services from destinations such as Aberdeen, Stornoway, Newcastle and Leeds Bradford will now operate with Flybe’s BE flight codes.

All flights are bookable though the website and passengers with onward connections will be able to check-in through to their final destination.

Passengers will continue to have use of Eastern Airways lounges where available as well as enjoying complimentary drinks and snacks on board.

Mathew Herzberg, Eastern Airways’ Head of Commercial, said: “Although it will be largely business as usual for passengers, the new BE flight code gives our customers greater connectivity to Flybe’s routes and global airline associated network with one single, seamless booking, along with online check-in.

“From today, the franchise partnership will help to broaden the route network available to customers through the Flybe and Eastern brand and reach a wider audience of customers who are new to services operated by Eastern Airways.”

Ronnie Matheson, Flybe’s Interim Chief Strategy Officer comments: "The start of our new franchise operation with Eastern Airways marks another milestone for both airlines. Through the routes they offer, we look forward to providing regional customers with an even greater choice of services with increased efficiencies and access to a greater choice of UK and European connections.”

Flybe franchise flights operated by Eastern Airways will depart from Aberdeen, Wick John O’Groats, Stornoway, Glasgow, Newcastle, Durham Tees Valley, Leeds Bradford, Humberside, Belfast City, Isle of Man, Anglesey, Cardiff, Norwich, Southampton, Paris Orly and Rodez.

As part of a separate risk-sharing arrangement which began in September, Eastern Airways also operates six of Flybe’s existing branded routes in Scotland, from Sumburgh (Shetland Isles), Kirkwall (Orkney Isles), Stornoway (Western Isles), Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Eastern Airways celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, with a fleet including two Embraer 170 and three Embraer 145 jets, one ATR 72-600, as well as nine Saab 2000s. It is also the largest operator in the world of Jetstream 41 aircraft with 17.