Flybe plans 300 job cuts in revamp programme

FlyBe aircraft The airline is reorganising itself into two divisions

Regional airline Flybe has said it is planning to cut about 300 jobs as part of a programme to return the carrier to profitability in 2013-14.

The Exeter-based airline said the cuts would lower UK staff numbers by 10%, reducing costs by £35m.

Flybe said it did not expect "significant" changes to the number of its UK bases or routes, but said it would be reviewing its network.

The airline reported a loss of £1.3m in the six months to 30 September.

That compared with a profit of £14.3m a year earlier. The airline has blamed its poor results on rising fuel costs and falling demand because of increases in air passenger duty.

'Disappointed'

Under the turnaround plan, the company said it would reorganise itself into two divisions.

Flybe UK will cover all UK-based scheduled flight services, while Flybe Outsourcing Solutions will cover all outsourced services such as contract flying and training.

The job losses will be seen in the Flybe UK business, with 20% of management posts going and 10% of support and production roles being cut.

The airline said consultation with affected staff and their trade unions would start immediately.

The Prospect union, which represents some Flybe engineers, said it did not support the airline's plans.

"While we acknowledge that the UK's continuing economic weakness is having a negative impact on business, we have yet to be convinced that the combination of job losses and the outsourcing of line maintenance put forward today provides the answer," said Prospect negotiator John Stevenson.

As well as job cuts, Flybe said it would be seeking to cut costs with suppliers, start a fuel efficiency programme and introduce more automated check-ins.

"I am extremely disappointed that many valued and hard-working colleagues may have to leave the organisation," said Flybe chairman and chief executive Jim French.

"We will make every effort to minimise the impact and to offer support wherever possible in the transition."

In a trading update, Flybe said passenger numbers had risen by 1.7% to 1.8 million in the final three months of last year. However, passenger revenues fell 1.2% to £136.9m and costs also rose.

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