DN - Defence Notes

Flybe adds at Norwich but closes base

6th December 2008 - 11:34 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Flybe has announced its summer 2009 programme from Norwich International Airport, which will result in the closure of the airline's base there. While the high-frequency Edinburgh and Manchester routes will be supplemented by the return of Jersey and Exeter to the East Anglian schedule, the aircraft operating the services will now be based at the other end of those routes, where Flybe bases already exist. Also, the low-performing route to Dublin will be dropped.

At Norwich, 45 staff (21 cabin crew, 20 flight deck and 4 engineers) were told they will be invited and encouraged to apply for vacancies elsewhere on the Flybe network and if successful will be offered relocation costs to move to another Flybe base. Flybe says it is "completely committed to finding alternative opportunities for all Norwich-based within the company and Flybe will now enter a period of consultation with the staff and their representatives about the implications of this closure. Flybe's Norwich staff represent 1.4% of the company's total staff numbers".

Commenting on the plans, chief commercial officer Mike Rutter said, “Flybe is pleased to confirm our commitment to our Norwich passengers by not only announcing our summer timetable to Edinburgh and Manchester but also by re-introducing our services to Jersey and Exeter. We are naturally disappointed not to be able to retain the service to Dublin but anyone reading the newspapers will know we live in challenging times and for Flybe to be able to continue to offer choice to the travelling public, we must remain competitive and take difficult decisions.”

Commenting on the proposal to close the Norwich crew base and to deploy the aircraft to the ‘other end’ of the route, Rutter added: “Tough choices have to be taken in the current economic climate. The only realistic way to retain services at the airport and for Flybe to maintain a strong schedule from Norwich is to redeploy the aircraft to Manchester and Edinburgh. We want every single one of our staff to stay and that’s why today we have told them of our plans and will work with them and their Trades Unions to ensure Flybe retains their skills.”

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