Wales

Flybe job loss talks: Jet flights from Cardiff to end

Flybe plane Image copyright Flybe
Image caption Flybe officials said in 2017 Cardiff Airport was "central" to its five-year growth plan

Regional airline Flybe is ending its jet operations from Cardiff this year, which could mean destinations offered by the company will be reduced, its chief executive has said.

Flybe confirmed it would cut jet services from three other bases, Doncaster, Norwich and Exeter.

It will also close servicing operations at Cardiff but continue to offer turbo-prop flights.

Christine Ourmieres-Widener said Flybe "remained fully committed" to Cardiff.

She told BBC Wales the company would "find a solution for everyone impacted" and the company was in discussions with partners and the unions.

The company cancelled a number of flights at airports in the UK on Wednesday as it entered discussions with staff over potential job losses.

Cardiff Airport boss Deb Barber said they understood Flybe was in the process of consulting with a number of its employees, including crews at bases including Cardiff.

South Wales Central AM Andrew RT Davies expressed concern at the news, saying redundancies and a reduction in flights would have a "detrimental impact" on the airport and its future growth.

At present, Flybe destinations from Cardiff include Paris, Rome, Munich, Milan, Geneva and Dublin.

'Not moving out'

Ms Ourmieres-Widener said: "Our employees generally knew that some changes for the network in a few weeks time were coming, but we wanted them to be aware before releasing the winter schedule then, so that's why we decided to send the information.

"We are reducing our fleet and we will have less jets [and that is] impacting our operation in Cardiff.

"We have been in discussion with our partners, mainly the airport, and we are still in discussion with them - we didn't finalise.

"But what for sure we know, [is] that we will not have any more jet operation in Cardiff and also we will operate all our flights from other bases - so we are closing the base in Cardiff."

"We are not moving out of Cardiff but the way we operate the flights will be different," she added.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "This will be very disappointing news for the Flybe staff who are set to lose their jobs and our thoughts are with them and their families.

"Cardiff Airport has gone from strength to strength since being purchased by Welsh Government in 2013, but this decision by the operator highlights the commercial pressures which regional airlines are under, including the increasing cost burdens such as Air Passenger Duty."

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