HAMPSHIRE MPs have warned of “major disruption” and the need to protect local jobs in light of crisis talks surrounding the future of airline operator Flybe.

Their comments come as the government considers measures to save the airline from collapse.

Chancellor Sajid Javid has been holding emergency talks with the business and transport secretaries to discuss whether a £100 million tax payment can be deferred until 2023.

A cut in air passenger duty (APD) on domestic flights to help Flybe has even been proposed.

Following a discussion in the House of Commons about APD yesterday, Tory MP for Winchester, Steve Brine claims the Flybe crisis could very quickly become a major disruption for many of his constituents.

He said: “The success of regional airports, such as Southampton, is vital if we’re to protect jobs and domestic connectivity but also in protecting the environment as they often lead the way in sustainable power sources and cleaner aircraft.

“The failure of Flybe will simply load up the local road network with people driving to hub airports in London and that’s a big loss for us.”

Tory MP for Eastleigh, Paul Holmes, added: “I’ve been in regular contact with ministers at the Department of Transport and Southampton Airport since Sunday.

“My priority remains protecting jobs and supporting the local economy. This is why I asked the minister today to do all he can to secure a deal for Flybe that provides a long-term future”

Caroline Nokes speaking in the commons about Flybe: “We have an opportunity here to use every lever of government to make sure regional connectivity is obtained to ensure business can operate smoothly and people can move around the country seamlessly.

“I am seeking reassurance from my honourable friend the minister that he is indeed pulling all of those levers

Meanwhile, commenting on the importance of regional air connectivity, Southampton Airport Managing Director Neil Garwood said:

“Regional connectivity is crucial to the economic wellbeing of our region but is constrained by Airport Passenger Duty.

“APD is disproportionate; it disadvantages regional aviation and stifles the growth and prosperity that it supports.

“We urge the government to level the playing field to provide stimulus and unlock growth and connectivity across all regions of the UK.”


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