FLYBE is launching six routes from its Exeter base as
it presses ahead with ambitious expansion plans.

From March next year, the airline will operate
Alicante, Malaga, Murcia, Belfast City, Edinburgh and Glasgow from Exeter.

The carrier aims to carry between 150,000 and 200,000
passengers on the routes in the first year, with prices starting at £49 for the
Mediterranean routes and £19 for domestic flights.

Until now, Flybe has only operated three routes from
Exeter despite basing its head office at the airport.

Managing director Jim French said: “The time’s right
for expansion in Exeter. The area is wealthier because a lot of businesses have
moved down the M5 corridor from Bristol and there has also been an influx of
people relocating from the southeast.”

He added ski destinations and more business-focused
routes would be next, depending on the success of the new services. 

French confirmed the family-owned airline may seek an
injection of cash from venture capitalists to help fund growth plans.

The move will create 100 new jobs at the airport.