Flybe sells its Gatwick slots to Easyjet – Business Traveller

Flybe sells gatwick slots,

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At least as important, Scottish tourism - which is a big employer, particularly in the Highlands - needs competitive and well-timed air links through Heathrow and Gatwick, without which many inbound travellers may not be bothered heading north.

Tourists and investors must also be able to get to the north of Scotland. Analysis By Douglas FraserBusiness and economy editor, Scotland With a hiatus over Britain's aviation policy, the future of London's airport is often seen as an issue for Londoners.

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It matters most to those regional airports with passengers dependent on connecting to global flights. Drew Hendry, leader of Highland Council, said he hoped Easyjet would recognise the importance of the Flybe service to the region's economy. Jim French, the airline's chairman and chief executive, said: Oil and gas services and food and drink in the North are two of the UK's leading exports and they must be able to reach overseas markets and tourists and investors must be able to get to the North.

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They already serve some of the routes but they are not going to automatically keep flying them. Stewart Nicol, of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said the availability of connections at the moment meant Highland firms could do a day's business in London.

The sale is part of a cost-cutting programme for the airline.

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Mr Alexander, who is MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey and chief secretary to the Treasury, said "astronomical increases" in landing charges at Gatwick had hit Flybe hard. Transport Minister Keith Brown said he had been in contact with Easyjet.

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It's an even bigger problem for Newquay in Cornwall, with slow train links and casino loyalty marketing other airline currently providing a service into Gatwick. It's just not making any commitment at this time.

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Flybe blamed higher taxes and "discriminatory pricing" at Gatwick, owed by private equity and sovereign wealth funds, for its decision to quit the airport. Get daily updates directly to your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribingSee our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email INDUSTRY leaders have called for "urgent action" to safeguard flights between the Highlands and London as one of the main operators struck a deal to sell all its landing and departure slots at Gatwick Airport.

Last year's Civil Aviation Authority investigation changed nothing but we need to press Gatwick to think again in the light of the damaging economy impact.

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EasyJet currently operates flights between Inverness and Gatwick, but not as many as Flybe. While the competition authorities have stepped in to ensure competition on Heathrow's links with both Edinburgh and Aberdeen, the break up of BAA's control of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted is leading to less regulation.

There are worries that the frequency and timings of the Inverness connections will be affected.

The airline said the deal was subject to shareholders' approval and that it would continue to operate all the slots until March These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image caption Flybe flies between Inverness and Gatwick Business leaders and politicians have raised concerns over the future of Inverness's links with London Gatwick.

That hits connections to the rest of Britain.

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And while rail services into London have improved for much of England, travellers from Scotland still need to be able to connect by air. A three-times-a-day service operated by Flybe is in doubt following the airline's decision to sell all of its take-off and landing slots at Gatwick.

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A spokeswoman said Easyjet was already committed to serving Inverness and carried twice as many passengers as Flybe to London each year. It said it will review the routes but there is no obligation for it to maintain them. It operates 19 flights a week between London and Inverness flybe sells gatwick slots connecting flights continuing to the likes of Benbecula, Kirkwall and Stornoway.

Normal operation will continue until then, the airline said. And while it's a noisy row for those under the flight paths, the economic impact of the bottlenecks in London matters at least as much to those who fly in as those who fly out.