Flybe passengers dependent on the airline to get around the UK and Europe have warned of the impact on their lives if the regional carrier collapses.
At Exeter airport, where Flybe is based, customers expressed concern on Monday that a collapse would leave holes in flight schedules. The airline carries more than 8 million passengers a year and is a key operator at regional airports around the UK, with a network covering 56 airports across Britain and Europe.
Gary Whitham, who uses Flybe to commute to Exeter for work from his home in the Netherlands, said: “I am on a project in Exeter until April and have been since October. I have heard nothing at all about Flybe’s problems. If they do go, then I would have to fly to Bristol, which is much more inconvenient for me.”
On the arrivals board, nine of the 10 flights displayed were operated by Flybe, from destinations including Belfast, Newcastle, Amsterdam and Dublin. Flybe flies to 14 destinations from Exeter.
A man waiting to pick up his daughter-in-law and grandchildren from the airport said: “My son travels every week to Luxembourg from Cornwall for work. But Cornwall is becoming more and more isolated. People in the south-west are fed up with the poor transport links. Billions of pounds are being spent on Crossrail and improving rail links to major cities by a few minutes from London, but down here we have poor rail, road and air routes.”
Malcolm Bell, head of tourism at Visit Cornwall, said air links to the west country, where Flybe also runs services to Newquay, were vital for the region. “It would be terrible if we lost that air link.”