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Action on APD demanded as Flybe axes jet services

The government needs to do more to support regional air routes following Flybe’s decision to withdraw jet services from four airports.

Cardiff airport CEO Deb Barber called for action on Air Passenger Duty as the regional carrier started consultation with staff over base closures.

Cardiff is one of four airports alongside Exeter, Doncaster Sheffield and Norwich affected by Flybe’s plan to stop flying Embraer 145 regional jets in a cost saving measure.

“We understand Flybe is in the process of consulting with a number of its employees, including its crew at multiple bases across its network, which includes Cardiff,” Barber said.

“Flybe’s plan to restructure and reduce its jet operations across many bases is part of the company’s long-standing objective to stabilise the business.

“This is a further sign to UK government that more needs to be done to support regional flying; the uncertainty of Brexit, currency and fuel costs are all impacting on the industry.

“Air Passenger Duty presents an additional cost burden, especially with the ‘double hit’ on domestic services which make up the majority of the Flybe network.

“We are working closely with Flybe to ascertain its plans moving forward and the role it will continue to have in connecting Cardiff with key routes in the UK and Europe.

“Flybe will continue to offer flights to and from both Cardiff on Q400 with aircraft and crew flying from other bases.

“The winter programme will be launched shortly, but in the meantime, we would reassure passengers that the summer schedule is underway and operating as normal.”

Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener met staff at Cardiff Airport yesterday but declined to say how many jobs were under threat.

She told the BBC: “We think APD is definitely not supporting the growth of regional connectivity. Without APD we could grow more in the UK.”

 

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