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Flybe tight-lipped over collapse threat

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Low-cost airline Flybe has declined to comment on media reports that it is in crisis talks in a bid to put together a rescue deal.According to Sky News, Flybe, which has already been bailed out once, has been struggling to secure fresh finance.But the airline said: "We don't comment on rumour or speculation."It said it was focusing on "providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned".The reports come a year after Flybe was bought for
Since then, the consortium has invested tens of millions of pounds in the troubled carrier, but losses have continued to mount.Tourism adviser and researcher Prof Annette Pritchard, of the Welsh Centre for Tourism Research in Cardiff, commented on Twitter that Flybe provided "a vital social and cultural link for many marginal economies".
Skip Twitter post by @touristory
Worrying news about @flybe financial issues. The airline plays a key role in so many regional economies for businesses and individuals alike. Not just a business but a vital social and cultural link for many marginal economies which should be recognised.— Annette Pritchard (@touristory) January 13, 2020
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End of Twitter post by @touristory
Based in Exeter, Flybe carries about eight million passengers a year from airports such as Southampton, Cardiff and Aberdeen, to the UK and Europe.Its network of routes includes more than half of UK domestic flights outside London.If the business collapses, more than 2,000 jobs are likely to go.
Union 'appalled'
The report on Sky News said EY had been lined up as administrators if Flybe were to go under. The BBC has approached EY for comment.Brian Strutton, general secretary of pilots' union Balpa, said: "I am appalled that once again the future of a major UK airline and hundreds of jobs is being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives."According to reports, the airline could have collapsed over the weekend, which would have been devastating news."Mr Strutton called on Flybe's owners and the government to talk to the union, saying staff had a right to know what was going on.Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said Flybe provided "valuable connectivity throughout the UK" and called on the government to intervene.He added: "Brexit and the way the government's aviation taxes hit a regional airline like Flybe have been a double whammy for the company and I would expect the government to work closely with its management to secure the future of such a strategically important business."
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