Flyebe announces job losses

Regional airline Flybe has said it expects to make 15 of its 150 staff redundant at its base at George Best Belfast City Airport.

The redundancies come as the Exeter-based carrier announced plans to cut around 300 of its 3,000-strong UK workforce and is considering outsourcing further support functions, including ground handling and onboard catering.

Flybe slumped into the red by £1.3 million in the six months to September 30 in 2012 against profits of £14.3 million a year earlier.

While the airline, which flies to a wide range of destinations in the UK from Belfast, said it was not considering a reduction in the number of routes, the frequency of flights from the City Airport is under review.

Jim French, chairman and chief executive of Flybe, said: “I am extremely disappointed that many valued and hard-working colleagues may have to leave the organisation.

“It’s a decision the board and I have not taken lightly; it’s one we have tried to avoid and it is the first time in almost 30 years of business that we have had to take such action.”

But he added the restructure delivers a “clear and realistic plan to return Flybe to profitability”.

Flybe warned in November that it was facing the toughest conditions in its history after seeing fuel costs rise by nearly a quarter, while demand was being stifled by air passenger duty hikes.