Following the announcement by Flybe that they are potentially to make most of their Island-based staff redundant, Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK met with Flybe’s new Chief Executive Officer, Saad Hammad, yesterday to discuss the impact of the airline’s planned base closure, before having a separate meeting with staff representatives.
Mr Hammad and the Flybe Directors of Operations and Human Resources, met their staff to brief them on the possible changes to the company immediately before meeting the Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure David Cretney MHK at Ronaldsway Airport.
The Chief Minister outlined to Mr Hammad his concerns about:-
- The potential loss of jobs for the Flybe crews and the challenges these staff would have to find alternative work on Island, raising the prospect of skills being lost locally
- The significance of the Liverpool service and Patient Transfer contract, which accommodates around 13,000 passenger journeys a year
- The importance of good air links to the UK and the effect on the Island economy if these are not maintained.
The Chief Minister said:
‘Mr Hammad made it clear that no final decisions had been made with regards to redundancies or the routes that Flybe plans to operate in the future. We had a frank but amicable exchange of information and I made our concerns very clear.’
Following the meeting with the Flybe executives, the Chief Minister and Minister of Infrastructure met some representatives of the company’s local employees, offering reassurance that the Isle of Man Government is keen that a solution is found for the staff.
The Chief Minister concluded:
‘I do not believe it will be long before final decisions are made, and I expect further details from Mr Hammad and his executive team within the next two weeks. We will use this time to research options and alternatives so that we can make a rapid response to any proposals from the company.
‘Flybe has been a very loyal operator for the Island. I accept that these significant cuts are designed to protect their business in a challenging trading environment but we will consider all options including the possibility that other airlines may be keen to operate on the routes currently served by Flybe’.