Isle of Man chief minister to meet Flybe boss

FlyBe aircraft Flybe said it would still be flying to and from the Isle of Man

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The Isle of Man's chief minister is to meet with the chief executive of Flybe on Thursday after the company announced it might close its Isle of Man base.

About 50 jobs could be lost under the proposal, which Flybe says is "necessary to secure a long-term future" for the company.

Allan Bell says he hopes the government can work with Flybe to "safeguard jobs and maintain routes".

He said he would discuss Flybe's patient transfer routes to Liverpool.

Mr Bell made the announcement in response to a question from North Douglas MHK Bill Henderson in Tynwald.

The Exeter-based airline is looking to close six bases, including Ronaldsway on the island, as part of a plan to save £85m over the next few years.

Saad Hammad, the company's chief executive, said: "I know that these proposals are creating great personal uncertainty, but they are necessary to secure a long-term future for Flybe."

Flybe's decision to pull out of the Isle of Man has been greeted with dismay by the island's government.

David Cretney, the Minister for Infrastructure, said he was "extremely saddened" by the news.

The airline said it remained fully committed to services to the Isle of Man and was trying to reassure passengers they could continue to book with confidence.

Bases at Aberdeen, Guernsey, Inverness, Jersey and Newcastle will also close under the proposals.

Flybe said it would be reducing its workforce by 500, despite returning to profit.

Last week, the company reported pre-tax profits of £13.8m for the six months to 30 September, compared with a loss of £1.6m a year earlier.

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