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Kelly Tolhurst updates MPs on Flybe's collapse

5 March 2020

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After news of Flybe's collapse, Kelly Tolhurst MP has made a statement on the Government's plans for supporting those affected.

It was announced this morning that regional airline Flybe had entered administration, with the airline blaming the effects of corona virus for the reduced number of travellers. All Flybe flights were immediately cancelled and more than 2000 jobs have been lost.

Less than two months ago the airline – which operates around 40 per cent of regional UK flights – announced it was in trouble before agreeing a rescue deal with the Government.

Kelly Tolhurst MP: "a competitive market"

Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport), Kelly Tolhurst, told MPs that the Government's "immediate priority" was to support passengers flying home and employees who have lost their jobs. She said that other airlines had been encouraged to offer rescue fares for passengers and that she hoped redundancy payments would be made to staff "as soon as possible".

Ms Tolhurst outlined the Government's plans for regional connectivity, including HS2 and investment in local roads. She said that they were undertaking a review of transport connections within the UK, which will include regional airports.

The Minister also stated that air passenger duties would be reviewed, while considering climate change targets. 

She said:

"Unfortunately, in a competitive market, companies do fail, and it is not the role of government to prop them up."

Karl Turner MP: "disastrous"

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Karl Turner, Shadow Transport Minister said that the collapse of Flybe was "disastrous" for many living in isolated areas reliant on the aviation industry. He asked if the Government will draw on the expertise of the Civil Aviation Authority if other airlines cannot fly home all stranded passengers.

The Shadow Minister said the Government's proposals to aid Flybe had not worked and that it had "sat on its hands and allowed this to happen". He added that that recent airline failures have resulted in the loss of 11,000 jobs.

He told MPs that the Government must offer full support to those made redundant and asked what preparations were in place for other airlines who may be affected by coronavirus. He also questioned the Minister when the rule that means airlines have to fly "half empty" planes to maintain landing slots will be repealed.

Mr Turner stated:

"The Government must now answer how those vital regional links will be maintained following Flybe's collapse."

Image: PA 

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