Doncaster Sheffield Airport has said it expects under pressure airline Flybe to keep flying from the airport for the rest of the year, despite reports that it was to pull out.
Pilots’ union Balpa said it has learned that Flybe is to close its bases at Cardiff and Doncaster Sheffield, and scale back its operations at Exeter.
However a statement from Doncaster Sheffield Airport said it expected them “to continue operating at DSA beyond the current summer and winter 19/20 schedule which will be on sale shortly”.
The full statement read: “Doncaster Sheffield Airport is forecasting record passenger numbers for the year ahead, over 15% growth. It will be the airports busiest year on record since opening in 2005. With an additional
250,000 seats already on sale and 11 new routes launched in the past year, passengers numbers will soar to in excess of 1.4m making it one of the fastest growing airports in the UK in recent years.
“Flybe have operated services at various levels from Doncaster Sheffield Airport since 2006. Flybe have recently changed ownership with future plans to restructure including a move away from jet flying to stabilise the business across their network.
“We are working closely with Flybe and expect them to continue operating at DSA beyond the current summer and winter 19/20 schedule which will be on sale shortly.”
The move comes after Flybe blamed a shortage of pilots as one of the reasons after it cancelled dozens of flights.
The regional airline said a “combination of factors” caused the disruption on Wednesday.
Passengers travelling to and from Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, London Southend and Southampton were among those whose travel plans were thrown into disarray.
The Exeter-based carrier said in a statement: “Flybe sincerely apologises to all our customers and partners affected by the current flight cancellations.
“Whilst 95% of Flybe flights are operating as per normal, we do recognise the impact of today’s cancellations.
“We are doing our best to mitigate the impact of the current situation that has arisen due to a combination of factors including seasonality, pilots’ end of leave year, Easter holidays, base restructuring and the shortage of pilots across the industry that Flybe has highlighted over recent months.”
Editor of Which? Travel magazine, Rory Boland, said: “Thousands of people will understandably be frustrated to have their travel plans thrown into chaos by these last-minute cancellations.
“The lack of clear information provided by Flybe was completely unacceptable.
“All passengers affected by these cancellations are entitled to a full refund or to be rerouted on to another flight to their intended destination - and to over £200 compensation under European air travel rules.”
Flybe flies 8.5 million passengers each year to 170 European destinations.
In February the airline was bought by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic following poor financial results.
Connect Airways, which consists of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, paid £2.8 million for Flybe’s assets and operations.