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11 November 2013, 12:53
Airline Flybe says 500 jobs are going as it aims to cut out what they are calling 'unprofitable routes' and there are concerns it will affect Norwich Airport.
The carrier's new chief executive, Saad Hammad, will also review unprofitable routes and bases and improve aircraft and crew utilisation.
The measures are expected to save the airline £26 million a year from next year, on top of previous initiatives to save £40 million this year and £45 million in 2014/15.
They've told Heart there aren't going to say yet how that might affect regional bases - including Norwich. But they have told us they want to focus on their main bases at Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast and Southampton.
Flybe have regular flights from Norwich to Manchester and Edinburgh.
The company say the cuts "will require tough decisions to be taken over the coming months and, regrettably, this proposal may result in the loss of around 500 jobs spread across the business.''
Consultation with trade union and staff association representatives on the proposals will start shortly.
The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa) said it was shocked by the announcement and called on the Government to play its part by reducing the impact of Air Passenger Duty.
Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan, said: "This is a distressing day for the dedicated pilots who loyally serve Flybe and its passengers day in, day out and we will be supporting them throughout this difficult redundancy process.
"Pilots are working with Flybe to secure the future of the airline, which is vital to connecting the country and driving growth and prosperity outside of London.''
The airline's half-year results today showed it grew passenger numbers by 5.6% to 4.3 million, while it returned to profit with a surplus of £13.8 million.
Having joined Flybe in August, Mr Hammad said: "It was clear to me that the existing phase one and two cost savings were necessary, but we simply needed to do more and to do it immediately.
"The business needed action now and so today we are explaining our next phase which encompasses a review of everything we do and how we do it.''
Mr Hammad's regime has already seen the departure of a raft of top executives.