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

Ukip's Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall. Photo: Getty
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Is the general election 2017 the end of Ukip?

Ukip led the way to Brexit, but now the party is on less than 10 per cent in the polls. 

Ukip could be finished. Ukip has only ever had two MPs, but it held an outside influence on politics: without it, we’d probably never have had the EU referendum. But Brexit has turned Ukip into a single-issue party without an issue. Ukip’s sole remaining MP, Douglas Carswell, left the party in March 2017, and told Sky News’ Adam Boulton that there was “no point” to the party anymore. 

Not everyone in Ukip has given up, though: Nigel Farage told Peston on Sunday that Ukip “will survive”, and current leader Paul Nuttall will be contesting a seat this year. But Ukip is standing in fewer constituencies than last time thanks to a shortage of both money and people. Who benefits if Ukip is finished? It’s likely to be the Tories. 

Is Ukip finished? 

What are Ukip's poll ratings?

Ukip’s poll ratings peaked in June 2016 at 16 per cent. Since the leave campaign’s success, that has steadily declined so that Ukip is going into the 2017 general election on 4 per cent, according to the latest polls. If the polls can be trusted, that’s a serious collapse.

Can Ukip get anymore MPs?

In the 2015 general election Ukip contested nearly every seat and got 13 per cent of the vote, making it the third biggest party (although is only returned one MP). Now Ukip is reportedly struggling to find candidates and could stand in as few as 100 seats. Ukip leader Paul Nuttall will stand in Boston and Skegness, but both ex-leader Nigel Farage and donor Arron Banks have ruled themselves out of running this time.

How many members does Ukip have?

Ukip’s membership declined from 45,994 at the 2015 general election to 39,000 in 2016. That’s a worrying sign for any political party, which relies on grassroots memberships to put in the campaigning legwork.

What does Ukip's decline mean for Labour and the Conservatives? 

The rise of Ukip took votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with a nationalist message that appealed to disaffected voters from both right and left. But the decline of Ukip only seems to be helping the Conservatives. Stephen Bush has written about how in Wales voting Ukip seems to have been a gateway drug for traditional Labour voters who are now backing the mainstream right; so the voters Ukip took from the Conservatives are reverting to the Conservatives, and the ones they took from Labour are transferring to the Conservatives too.

Ukip might be finished as an electoral force, but its influence on the rest of British politics will be felt for many years yet. 

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