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Flybe: Minister welcomes news airline's immediate future has been secured

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JERSEY has a strong network of air routes and its travel links are much less vulnerable than a decade ago, the Economic Development Minister has said.

Senator Lyndon Farnham

Senator Lyndon Farnham spoke out following the announcement that the UK government had agreed a rescue deal with Flybe’s new shareholders, aimed at securing the sustainable future of the company.

It is thought the deal could involve the deferral of a £100 million payment of air passenger duty.

Senator Farnham said: ‘We have a robust network and we are much less vulnerable that we have been in the past. However, we cannot be complacent and Ports of Jersey continue to build on the network.

‘We are very well served but we must remain mindful of the size and type of the Island’s market.

‘Although I do not know the full details of the rescue package, I am encouraged by the business secretary [Andrea Leadsom], who has said that it will be sustainable.’

He added: ‘I do not want us to revisit the situation with Flybe or any other transport provider, so I hope they have been put in a sustainable position.’

Jersey’s network of air routes has been boosted significantly during the last decade by the growth of easyJet, which began operating flights out of the Island in 2008 and now serves nine destinations.

Senator Farnham added that his confidence in Flybe had also grown following its take-over by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium of three different companies and that he remained confident of its continued success.

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‘I was confident at the time of its sale and I remain confident that Flybe has a sustainable future with shareholders like Virgin and Stobart, who have routes that can improve the Flybe network,’ he said.

‘It is very difficult to predict the future but Ports of Jersey continue to work closely with Flybe to ensure they are sustainable. The UK government are doing their bit and we will do our bit too.’

Jennifer Carnegie, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said: ‘We are as pleased as the rest of the business community about how Flybe’s service will be maintained and how it is still in existence.

‘About one-third of flights in and out of Jersey are run by Flybe and they are crucial to the connectivity of the Island and help to attract investment.

‘It is difficult to assess how resilient the network is because of the fragile nature of the airline industry over the last ten years. However, Jersey markets itself on its exceptional connectivity compared to other places and it is crucial that the UK and Jersey governments continue to work to ensure Flybe’s future.’

Ed Taylor

By Ed Taylor
Journalist

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