Flybe in Gatwick runway slots sale talks
Airline Flybe is in talks about selling its runway slots at London's Gatwick Airport.
The Exeter-based company currently has 25 take-off and landing slots at Gatwick.
Easyjet is one of the companies Flybe is believed to be in discussions with. Flybe said it was in talks with a "number of parties".
The potential sell-off news has resulted in Flybe shares rising by more than 20%.Cash injection
Flybe was floated on the stock market at the end of 2010. Since then it has faced soaring fuel costs, falling passenger numbers and higher airport duty.
Analysts say they believe Flybe has a fundamentally sound business model, but it's one which requires some tinkering.
That has been happening, with the airline cutting costs and reorganising the way it works.
This potential sale of the slots at Gatwick could help tide Flybe over through its struggles and to better times ahead if the economy begins to recover and more people once again take to the skies.
However, it could have very significant knock-on effects on the South West's transport links with London.
Flybe is the only airline that flies from its base region to London, with three flights a day from Newquay.
They are marketed specifically for business travellers, as train trips into the capital can be five hours or so.
Potentially losing them is a big concern for Cornwall's business community.
It is currently axing about 10% of its 3,000-strong UK workforce to cut costs by at least £35m.
It is also reviewing its network of 13 UK bases of Aberdeen, Belfast City, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Guernsey, Glasgow, Inverness, Isle of Man, Jersey, Manchester, Newcastle and Southampton.
Last week, the airline and the British Airline Pilots' Association confirmed pilots had agreed to a 5% pay cut to avoid compulsory redundancies.
A slots sell-off could provide it with a cash injection of up to £20m.
Selling all the slots would see Flybe quit its main London hub, although it also flies a small number of services from Luton Airport.
Flybe said: "Discussions are ongoing and there can be no certainty as to whether any transaction will be forthcoming."
Easyjet declined to comment.
Flybe is expected to post another year of losses for the year to the end of March.
Its direct destinations from Gatwick include: Belfast, Guernsey, Jersey, Newcastle, Newquay and France.