Flybe flies to profit but axes 500 jobs

First-half pre-tax profits reach €16.5 million

Flybe, Europe’s biggest regional airline, swung back to profit in figures just released for the first half of 2013 – but will expand the scope of its restructuring, including around 500 job cuts.

Pre-tax profits at the UK-based budget carrier, which has a strong presence in Finland and northern Europe, were £13.8 million (€16.5 million) for the six months to September 30. That contrasts with a loss of £1.6 million a year earlier.

Flybe said its turnaround plan was on track to make £40 million of savings this year and £45 million in 2014-15. However, the pilots union Balpa said it was “shocked” by the decision to cut jobs.

In 2012-13, the carrier cut 490 jobs, with a further 100 going in the first half of 2013-14.

Flybe chief executive Saad Hammad, who joined the company in August, told the BBC he could not say where the job losses would fall at this stage. Further routes may also be axed.

Flybe employs 2,700 staff and has a fleet of 96 aircraft, 28 of which belong to Flybe Finland.

TTG Digital

[pictured: Flybe Bombardier Q400 (Eco livery), courtesy Flybe]