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Jobs fairs to help Flybe workers and those in supply chain

The entrance to Exeter Airport

Jobs fairs are being planned to help those affected by the collapse of Devon-based airline Flybe.

Flybe was estimated to be worth around £98.5 million to the local economy and provided around 1,000 jobs directly in the Exeter and East Devon area  - with a further 620 jobs supported by the business.

A series of job fairs are now being organised, with the first set to take place at Exeter Corn Exchange next Tuesday (10 March).

The event, which will be free to attend, will "primarily be for those affected by Flybe going into administration, as well as supply businesses that may also be impacted."

Devon County Council, Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP), Exeter College and Exeter Airport say they are leading an urgent response group.

Additional job fair events are being held in Axminster on 12 March and 19 March, Torquay on 13 March and Honiton on 25 March.

In a joint statement the group say: "The Flybe Training Academy is also a key asset of the business and the authorities will be working with administrators to ensure this is retained. Immediate work on relocating staff and students is taking place and remains a primary and ongoing concern that Exeter College is working to resolve.

"Efforts are underway to secure new operators for routes previously operated by Flybe, and Scottish regional airline Loganair has already taken on three routes from Exeter, with routes to Edinburgh and Glasgow due to resume later this month and Newcastle in July. Guernsey airline Aurigny will take on direct services between Guernsey and Exeter from Thursday 12 March.

FLYBE (from press office another edit)"The local partnership will meet with Exeter Airport next Wednesday (11 March) to build a business case to present to the Department for Transport (DfT), setting out a list of essential key routes that are crucial to the success of the Government’s national 'levelling-up' agenda.

"The group will also explore future opportunities at Exeter Airport including 'freeport' status, competitive advantages from being part of an Enterprise Zone, and the development of innovative solutions to lower carbon aviation. 

"Initial discussions have been held with Kelly Tolhurst MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DfT, to make the Minister aware of the economic impact of the loss of Flybe and state the case for additional investment in Devon."

Councillor Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Economy and Skills, added: "Flybe staff and other businesses that relied on the airline will no doubt still be reeling from what has happened, and it’s with them in mind that the local authorities are working together to offer urgent support. There has been some good news with Loganair and Aurigny taking up routes and we will hope for further similar announcements which may provide job opportunities. We need businesses to tell us which routes they consider to be absolutely vital to help inform the business case that we’ll be calling for the DfT to support.”

Councillor Ben Ingham, Leader of East Devon District Council, said: "Flybe was the largest private sector employer in East Devon and our first concern is for all the people who have been affected by the collapse of the company. I am very pleased that we have been able to work with our partners, quickly putting together a programme of events to help people in this way. 

"More widely, we will engage with Government to ensure that a package of support helps the area recover from this shock and that our Airport continues to play its vital role in the local economy."

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