Flybe chairman and chief executive Jim French today released a full statement on the cut backs at the company.

He said he was “extremely disappointed that many valued and hard-working colleagues may have to leave the organisation” in a decision he said the board had “not taken lightly.”

His statement in full read: “Today's announcement commits Flybe to very clear short and medium term profit targets. To achieve those targets we need firstly to return Flybe UK to profitability. That turnaround will be based upon the detailed cost reduction plan we have announced today and the new slimline business model that will underpin those cost reductions.

“Secondly we need to take advantage of the rapidly growing contract flying market in Europe and fully exploit the leadership position we have created in that market in the last 18 months. The creation of Flybe Outsourcing Solutions will allow us to maximise our position in a market which offers predictable profit and cash flows combined with low risk growth opportunities.

“I am extremely disappointed that many valued and hard-working colleagues may have to leave the organisation. It's a decision the Board and I have not taken lightly; it's one we have tried to avoid and it is the first time in almost 30 years of business that we have had to take such action. Whilst recognising the impact this will have on many of our staff, we will make every effort to minimise the impact and to offer support wherever possible in the transition.

He added: “However, recognising that any significant change to the UK economy or a rebalancing of APD paid by regional and domestic passengers are likely to be some way off, today's announcement represents a clear and realistic plan to return Flybe to profitability, with a measurable timescale and benchmarks based upon significant restructuring and cost reduction. We are committed and focussed on delivery of the plan, continuing to provide strong customer service to more than eight million passengers each year, providing secure and long term employment for those staff remaining in the business and to improve shareholder value.''