Bath Travel-owned Palmair is releasing its single aircraft in a bid to safeguard the long term future of its tour operation.

The Boeing 737-500 will make its last flight tomorrow (Saturday) and then be returned to the leasing company. Palmair has been operating from Bournemouth Airport since 1958.

But managing director David Skillicorn said the move was necessary to secure its long term future.

The operator, which employs 25 people, had previously announced a reduced service this winter. Skillicorn said: “We’re not immune to what’s going on around us – the airline industry has had a totally horrible, miserable yea r.

“As a small business we’ve got to look very long and hard at the future and how we’re going to secure our future and may be reshape our business based on the actual demand there is today.

“People’s habits and tastes change. We have seen our cruising business for next year rocket by 11%.”

Passengers who have booked with Palmair will be transferred onto another airline. Ryanair announced in July that it was suspending winter flights from Bournemouth airport – just months after a £45 million new terminal opened.

A month later Palmair followed Ryanair’s decision by stopping services in November, December and January. Flybe has also dropped a Bournemouth-Manchester service for the winter.