Flybe hits out at Gatwick over 'discrimination'

Flybe has hit out at the owners of Gatwick, claiming the airline's decision to sell 25 take-off and landing slots at the base to easyJet for £20m was due to the airport's "discriminatory" treatment of smaller airlines.

The move means Flybe will quit its main London hub entirely by next March. Last year it flew 550,000 passengers on seven routes to the likes of Belfast, Newcastle and Jersey from Gatwick.

Flybe claimed GIP, which bought Gatwick from BAA in 2009, had imposed "a discriminatory pricing regime to the operators of smaller, regional aircraft which, in Flybe's case, has resulted in a 102 per cent increase in charges over the last five years, [which meant] Flybe has a significant per seat cost penalty at Gatwick against the operators of larger aircraft, such as easyJet."

Those charges, said Flybe yesterday, plus "the penalistic levels of air passenger duty imposed on UK domestic airlines by successive governments" made the Gatwick routes "unsustainable in the long term".

However, Flybe admitted it will use the proceeds of the sale to cut debts and finance a restructuring plan.

Gatwick said that the changes to its airport charges were aimed at "encouraging more efficient use during the peak as well as greater all-year-round use of our runway".

Since Flybe was floated on the stock market in 2010, there has been a drop in flier numbers, soaring fuel bills, and higher airport taxes.

It is axing about a fifth of its 2700-strong UK workforce and cutting salaries after a string of profit warnings. It is set to reduce costs by £30m this year, higher than its previous £25m target. It is also deferring the arrival of 16 new aircraft due for delivery next year and in 2015.

Gatwick yesterday said: "Flybe has been a valued customer of London Gatwick for over 20 years and we are disappointed that Flybe has made the decision to sell its landing slots but we remain committed to supporting their operations here until they exit in March 2014."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there