April 3, 2019 / 9:48 AM / 8 months ago

Flybe says no further cancellations on Thursday

(Reuters) - Flybe said there would be no cancellations on Thursday after roughly 5 percent of the British airline’s flights were grounded on Wednesday, due to pilot shortages with some taking leave ahead of the busy Easter holiday period.

FILE PHOTO: An airport worker examines a flybe aircraft before it takes off from Liverpool John Lennon Airport in Liverpool northern England, May 19 , 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Recently sold Flybe, which flies more than 210 routes across 15 countries, said it had canceled 32 flights from airports, including Belfast, Southampton, Birmingham and Aberdeen.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital bought Flybe earlier this year in a deal which bailed out the struggling airline at a price that some shareholders criticized as far too cheap.

The airline, which carries 8 million passengers a year between 81 airports across Europe, apologized to affected customers while some of them labeled it “Flymaybe” on Twitter.

“Yet another delay with Britain’s worst and most unreliable airline #Flybe.... Get a grip #flybe #virgin #connect airways,” user @Baz66 tweeted.

Dozens of other customers complained under the hashtag #flymaybe.

The company said it had put in place a number of contingency plans to minimize future disruption, but did not provide further details on what action it had taken.

It said affected customers could re-book their travel on an alternate flight or apply for a full refund. bit.ly/2OGs9Lv

In a separate statement, the airline said it would stop flying its Embraer 195 jets out of four airports in Britain as part of a previously announced move to reduce its aircraft fleet.

The airline will end flights by the jets from Cardiff, Doncaster, Exeter and Norwich, starting in the winter of 2019. It will continue operating its 78-seat Bombardier Q-400.

UK and Ireland’s largest union Unite said talks on proposals to lay off 38 pilots and 52 cabin crew were due to begin on April 10.

The redundancies are linked to Flybe’s proposals to close Cardiff and Doncaster bases from Oct. 1, the union, which has 450 Flybe employees, added.

Reporting by Samantha Machado, Justin Varghese, Noor Zainab Hussain and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and David Evans

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