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Flybe rescue 'good news' for passengers and staff

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GUERNSEY politicians breathed a collective sigh of relief to the news that Flybe has been saved from collapse, and it is hoped a UK government review of regional connectivity could benefit the island.

UK ministers signed a rescue deal last night to bail out Europe's largest regional carrier, and added a pledge to review taxes on domestic flights before the March budget.

Flybe operates from Guernsey to Jersey, Exeter and Birmingham, and further routes through its franchise partner Blue Islands.

If the airline had gone bust it could have been very detrimental to the island.

In the States Assembly this morning the President of Economic Development, Deputy Charles Parkinson, said the rescue deal was good news for passengers and staff.

'I'm very encouraged by the UK's review of regional connectivity because I think there is a possibility that Guernsey passengers may be able to benefit from the outcome of that review.

'We will obviously do everything we can to ensure that Guernsey's interests are taken into consideration in that review.'

Economic Development president Deputy Charles Parkinson. (26898398)

Deputy Dawn Tindall was happy the matter had been resolved, but wanted assurances that if the situation happened again that Economic Development was on top of it.

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Deputy Parkinson tried to allay her concerns.

'Blue Islands does use the Flybe reservations system, but they retained their own independent reservations system in case they need to revive that system, so they are independent of Flybe and medical flights are unaffected.

'Nevertheless, we had discussions with Blue Islands and Aurigny during the period of uncertainty over Flybe's future, and they reassured us that they would be able to cover the Exeter and Birmingham routes, they would not be allowed to operate the Heathrow route, which is subject to different arrangements.'

On the issue of Heathrow, Deputy John Gollop wanted to ensure access to those slots, but Deputy Parkinson reminded him that Heathrow slots were like 'hens teeth' and 'very expensive'.

A meeting will be held next week with Deputy Parkinson and the chief executive officer of Virgin Connect, who are one of the owners of Flybe.

Helen Bowditch

By Helen Bowditch
News reporter

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