Cost-cutting Flybe to quit London Gatwick

It will exit London’s second-biggest airport in March 2014

Struggling UK-based airline Flybe, which has forged deep links in Scandinavia in recent years as subsidiary Flybe Nordic operates short-haul Finnair routes, says it will quit its main hub in London at Gatwick airport.
Europe’s largest regional airline has also postponed the delivery of 16 new planes in an increasingly intense effort to return to profitability. It has been suffering pre-tax losses for two years, suffering from fuel costs, fewer passengers and rising airport charges in London.
It is cutting 590 jobs, or 22% of its UK workforce. This is twice the number (300) it said it would cut in its most recent cost-cutting plan in January.
It will exit London’s second-biggest airport in March 2014, selling its 25 take-off and landing slots to easyJet for £20 million (€23.34 million).
“No business can swallow cost increases of more than 100% over five years and Flybe simply cannot bear such punitive rises,” chief executive and chairman Jim French explained.
Flybe’s biggest shareholders include the BA-Iberia parent IAG and billionaire investor George Soros.
[pictured: Flybe Bombardier Q400; courtesy Flybe]