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Flybe halts expansion in face of declining passenger figures

Sunday 28 Sep 2008 7:55am

The UK's largest regional airline Flybe has suspended its expansion plans. According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, the airline will start cutting back on its existing passenger capacity instead. Flybe now plans to reduce its passenger capacity by around 400,000 seats during the winter season. Flybe's chairperson Jim French highlighted the fact that the company is noticing shrinkage in demand among its business and corporate passengers. However Mr French added current circumstances do not 'scare' Flybe, because the lull is not of dramatic proportions. The Exeter-based airline's original plan to increase its overall capacity by 16 percent will go ahead. The majority of cutbacks will be made on flights to key European destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels. In spite of the anticipated drop in business passenger numbers, Flybe figures suggest that around 45 percent of its passengers fly on official business trips. This stands the airline in a stronger position than rival companies such as Ryanair whose business relies much more heavily on leisure travel. High petrol prices, credit crunch and the current economic downturn have been cited for the declining demand for leisure travel and encouraging people instead to holiday at home. However many companies continue to require their employees to travel on business.

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