Ben Houchen has moved to reassure local people across the region that Teesside International Airport is unaffected, after the collapse of Flybe.
Eastern Airways, which run flights from Teesside Airport, operate as a franchise partner of Flybe, and there’ll be no flight disruption, insists the Tees mayor.
This means it will continue to fly and operate from Teesside as an independent airline.
To minimise any disruption Eastern Airways will be implementing a new booking engine independent of the one provided by Flybe.
Details will be available at www.EasternAirways.com in due course.
Passengers booked on Thursday, Friday or Sunday flights operated by Eastern Airways should turn up and travel as normal. Announcements will be made on the Eastern Airways website about next week onwards.
Mayor Houchen has been working closely with Eastern Airways to secure a commitment from Eastern Airways that they will honour the price passengers originally paid for flights with Flybe when rebooking directly, in the event Flybe collapses.
“Eastern Airways is completely independent of Flybe and as a result passengers using Teesside Airport will not experience any disruption as a result of the anticipated devastating news for Flybe,” said Mr Houchen.
“I want to stress that flights will continue as normal and can continue to be booked through Eastern Airways own booking system.
“My thoughts are with all the workers at Flybe who are facing an uncertain future this evening, as well as all the holidaymakers who have bookings with Flybe in the pipeline.
“Eastern Airways decision to agree to honour ticket prices at the same rate as when they were originally booked is testament to their commitment to Teesside and our airport, and to doing the right thing for local people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“Since buying our airport and saving it from closure, I have worked tirelessly to turn its fortunes around and introduce new flights across the UK and Europe. Teesside Airport remains flying as normal.”
A government statement issued on Thursday morning said: “Following a commercial decision by the company, Flybe has ceased trading.
“We recognise the impact this will have on Flybe’s passengers and staff. Government staff will be on hand at all affected UK airports to help passengers.
“The vast majority of Flybe routes are served by different transport options, and we have asked bus and train operators to accept Flybe tickets and other airlines to offer reduced rescue fares to ensure passengers can make their journeys as smoothly as possible.
“We know this will be a worrying time for Flybe staff and our Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service stands ready to help them find a new job as soon as possible.
“We are working closely with industry to minimise any disruption to routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not already covered by other airlines can be re-established by the industry.
“Through the reviews of regional connectivity and Airport Passenger Duty we have announced, we will bring forward recommendations to help ensure that the whole of the UK has the connections in place that people rely on.
“Flybe’s financial difficulties were longstanding and well documented and pre-date the outbreak of COVID-19. We are well prepared a potential outbreak and this week we have set out an action plan with details of our response.”