The UK pilots’ union has condemned reported cut-backs by Flybe and vowed to work to protect jobs.

The regional carrier is understood to be planning to close bases at Cardiff and Doncaster Sheffield airports as well as making reductions at Exeter.

Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said: “We’re very disappointed to learn that Flybe has decided to close two of its bases – Cardiff and Doncaster – and scaling back at Exeter.

“This will come as a shock to all staff.

“Balpa will be working closely with the airline to ensure pilots’ jobs are protected and that this difficult process is handled as professionally as possible.”

Travel Weekly has approached Flybe to comment.

The disclosure came as the airline admitted 5% of its schedule had been cancelled today.

The airline said: “Flybe sincerely apologises to all our customers and partners affected by the current flight cancellations. Whilst 95% of Flybe flights are operating as per normal, we do recognise the impact of today’s cancellations.

“We are doing our best to mitigate the impact of the current situation that has arisen due to a combination of factors including seasonality, pilots’ end of leave year, Easter holidays, base restructuring and the shortage of pilots across the industry that Flybe has highlighted over recent months.

“We have already identified several mitigation actions and will be issuing further updates throughout the day.

“All those affected have been emailed and advised they can re-book for travel on an alternative flight or apply for a full refund.

“Customers are advised to regularly check our website for more details.”

Shareholders in Exeter-based Flybe last month agreed its sale to Connect Airways, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group.