The Exeter-based airline Flybe is scaling down its operations to improve profitability.
Exeter-based airline Flybe is to stop flying jets from Exeter Airport at the end of October 2019.
This morning (Wednesday, April 3) Flybe cancelled 32 flights, mainly within the UK, blaming ‘operational issues’ including a shortage of pilots.
Later in the day, the airline confirmed details of its strategy to reduce its aircraft fleet to improve profitability, but said the cancelled flights were unrelated to this decision.
The troubled airline is also consulting employees over plans to close its airbases at Cardiff and Doncaster from 1 October, and scale back its operations in Norwich.
The last of Flybe’s jet flights will leave Exeter Airport on October 26. All of the airline’s 118-seat Embraer 195 planes, which currently fly to Alicante, Faro, Malaga and Palma, are being returned to their owners.
Flights out of Exeter by the 78-seat Q400 planes will not be affected. The company said these planes “will continue as the backbone of Flybe’s network, being the ideal aircraft for the regional network it provides to connect the UK and the UK regions with the rest of the world.”
Also in late October, jets will stop flying out of Norwich, but this will not affect services at the city airport operated by Flybe’s franchise partner Eastern Airways.
Discussions about potential job losses are at an early stage and the company said where possible, staff will be offered roles at its other bases.
A spokesperson for Flybe said customers who have booked jet flights from Exeter for dates after October 26 will be contacted individually.
Christine Ourmières-Widener, Flybe’s CEO, said: “Our fleet reduction has always been core to improving our profitability. We are committed to assisting all our affected employees across the impacted Flybe bases. We remain fully committed to Exeter, Cardiff and Doncaster airports and will continue to offer a comprehensive choice of regional and European destinations operated by our 78-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.”
Flybe put itself up for sale last November, following a profit warning. Virgin, Stobart Air and Cyrus Capital set up Connect Airways in December.
The airline had run into problems in 2017, reporting a loss of nearly £20m loss in the financial year ending 31 March 2017.