Belfast Telegraph

Flybe turnaround plan takes off with fewer jobs at risk

Regional airline Flybe expects fewer job losses than previously announced as its turnaround plan to rid itself of unprofitable routes and surplus aircraft gains momentum.

The Exeter-based group is reducing the number of positions facing the axe by 10% to around 450, with roughly 40-60 compulsory redundancies.

In November last year the airline said 52 staff would go from its Belfast base at City Airport as part of widespread job cuts across the UK.

The company has been flying from Belfast for 30 years and last year said it employed 101 cabin crew, 66 pilots, 13 engineers and seven others in Belfast.

But there was no further detail yesterday on whether a reduced number would now lose their jobs in Belfast.

A spokeswoman said yesterday: "Flybe's plans remain unchanged and across the network Flybe can confirm that only circa 10% of the original planned number of redundancies is now expected to be compulsory."

Flybe's refocus towards the larger sites in its network has seen it close bases in Inverness, Aberdeen, Isle of Man, Newcastle, Jersey and Guernsey, although it will continue to fly to those airports.

Flybe has already discontinued 30 unprofitable routes for this summer as part of its restructuring drive. By the end of the season it will also have grounded 14 aircraft. Its Belfast to Gatwick route will be shelved in March following the sale of slots to easyJet.

Chief executive Saad Hammad said the airline was now on track to deliver £40m of annual cost savings by the end of March.

Flybe's third quarter trading for 2013/14 was in line with management expectations, with total revenues for its UK airline business broadly flat at £137.6m, despite a 1.8% cut in capacity.

Passenger numbers grew by 9.2% to 1.9m.

Belfast Telegraph