Steve Hindley, Chair of the Steering Group of the Great South West Partnership, which spans the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas of Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, the Heart of the South West (which includes Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset), and Dorset, said:
“This is devastating news for Flybe staff, passengers and everyone affected and our first thoughts must be with them.
“For many years Flybe has been a critical piece of transport infrastructure for the Great South West, especially given the fragility of our road and rail links whose vulnerability has been highlighted on many occasions in recent years.
“Despite personal assurances from the Prime Minister about upgrading our road infrastructure like the A303 and his encouraging noises about rail electrification, such improvements will take a long time to deliver and what we need is action now to maintain fast and efficient air links to our region.
“Flybe has been the principle operator at Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay and it is vital that UK and European services are maintained. If the Government is serious about levelling up the UK economy then this is an opportunity to show its commitment and work with us and industry to find mechanisms to support air connectivity as part of its regional connectivity review.
“The Great South West fully supports the Government’s strong commitment to levelling up economic performance and unleashing the nation’s full potential. That’s why we have forged a powerful alliance of LEPs, local government, business leaders, universities and colleges to attract additional investment in to the area, which enjoys cross-party backing.
“Last week we wrote to the Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, outlining the importance of Government support to unlock our region’s huge potential. Today’s announcement from Flybe makes that support more important than ever.”