Five questions answered on airline Flybe’s plan to slash 500 jobs

What has been the reaction to the job losses?

Exeter-based Flybe has announced it will be cutting 500 jobs; this is despite reporting a return to profit. We answer five questions on the airlines decision.

Why is Flybe cutting jobs?

It appears to be part of the company’s plan to make £40m of savings this year and £45m in 2014-15. The company said the new round of job cuts, which follows 300 announced in January, will save Flybe £7m this year and £26m next year.

How many people does the company employ?

Flybe employs 2,700 staff. It cut 490 jobs in 2012-13, with a further 100 going in the first half of 2013-14. Flybe chief executive Saad Hammad, told the BBC he could not say where the job losses would fall at this stage. "We're consulting with unions and our staff," he said.

What has been the reaction to the job losses?

Pilot's union, Balpa, told the BBC it was "shocked" by the decision to cut jobs.

What else has Flybe said?

"Unfortunately there is a proposal for further redundancies," Hammad told The Telegraph. "We will consult with the trade unions and employees to ensure that this is done fairly and delivers the right outcome for the business. "We will make Flybe the best local airline in Europe. This is ambitious, but achievable provided that we can transform our cost base and efficiency now."

What pre-tax profits has Flybe reported?

The company’s pre-tax profits were up £13.8m for the six months to 30 September, compared with a loss of £1.6m a year earlier. Its revenue rose 3 per cent to £351.1m and the company said it saw a 5.6 per cent increase in passengers in the period to 4.3m, and the average revenue per scheduled seat had risen slightly to £50.35.

A Flybe aircraft takes off from the Belfast City Airport, Northern Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images.

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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