Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Flybe ends Isle of Man's Gatwick route

FlyBe aircraft
Image caption Flybe will no longer operate the Isle of Man to London Gatwick route from April 2014

Airline Flybe will end its direct Isle of Man to Gatwick flights from April 2014, it has confirmed.

The company sold its slots at the London airport to Easyjet for £20m, blaming an increase in airport charges.

Flybe said it would continue with all other flights between the Isle of Man and other UK airports.

It currently operates 26 flights per week to Gatwick from the island's Ronaldsway airport. They will continue until 29 March 2014.

A Flybe spokesman said there would be "no impact" on the remaining six routes the airline operates from the Isle of Man.

Flybe currently operates 75 flights a week from the Isle of Man to airports in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Luton and Southampton.

The spokesman added that the funds generated from the sale of the slots would be "reinvested across its network".

Jim French, Flybe chairman and chief executive, said the increase in costs at Gatwick meant that increasingly small airlines would be pushed out.

He said: "Flybe fully appreciates the implications this will have, not only on Isle of Man passengers but also on the island's wider economy which has come to rely on the convenient life-line connections we provide to Gatwick.

"I'm afraid it's inevitable that high-frequency services from the UK's regions will ultimately be squeezed out of Gatwick, as they have been from Heathrow."

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