The Regional airline Flybe cancelled dozens of flights from a number of UK airports today, blaming a shortage of pilots.
It also confirmed that it was in consultations over job losses as it prepares to cut jet flights in favour of cheaper turboprop planes.
The restructure includes ending jet flights from Exeter, Cardiff, Doncaster and Norwich airports – servicing operations at Doncaster and Cardiff also face closure.
Flybe apologised for today’s delays and said an industry-wide shortage of pilots was to blame, along with its own pilots taking holidays.
Belfast City and Birmingham airports were among the affected airports and a Flybe spokesman said the company would ‘follow all the rules of compensation.’
The airline said disruption hit around five per cent of flights and it was ‘expecting to go back to normal operations as soon as possible.’
Flybe chief executive Christine Ourmieres-Widener told BBC Radio 5 Live that the company would do its best to avoid job losses as it tries to cut costs.
She said they would fill internal vacancies with existing staff and the company was ‘engaging with all impacted crew.’
Ourmieres-Widener added: “Flybe’s plan to restructure and reduce its jet operations across many bases is part of a long-standing objective to stabilise the business.”
Unite the union regional officer Peter Coulson called on Flybe to provide more details of its plans for cuts.
“Unite is seeking to minimise the potential job losses and secure assurances about Flybe’s long-term future.”
“It is essential that Flybe is fully transparent with its workforce about the exact situation facing the company.
“The current uncertainty is incredibly unsettling and is in danger of severely damaging morale at the company.”
The airline put itself up for sale last year after issuing a profit warning. It ran into trouble in 2017 after a rapid expansion contributed to a loss of almost £20m.
Its assets and operations were bought for £2.8m earlier this year in a rescue deal by Connect Airways, a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic.