[Reuters] Struggling British airline Flybe will quit its main London hub at Gatwick airport and has pushed back the delivery of 16 new aircraft to help it return to profitability.
Europe’s largest regional airline also said it had axed 590 jobs, or 22 percent of its UK workforce, despite saying in January it would cut only 300 jobs when it unveiled a cost-cutting plan designed to end a two-year run of losses at the pre-tax level.
Flybe floated its shares on the London Stock Exchange at the end of 2010 and has since suffered from high fuel costs, falling passenger numbers and higher airport charges, especially in London.
The company, which counts British Airways parent IAG and billionaire investor George Soros among its largest shareholders, said on Thursday the measures would save it GBP£30 million (USD$45 million) in costs in 2013/14, GBP£5 million ahead of its previous target, with more than half coming from the job cuts.
Flybe will exit Gatwick in March 2014, after agreeing a deal to sell its 25 take-off and landing slots at London’s second-largest airport to easyJet for GBP£20 million. “No business can swallow cost increases of more than 100 percent over five years and Flybe simply cannot bear such punitive rises,” Flybe chief executive and chairman Jim French said.
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May 23, 2013