“ANGER and sadness” have greeted the news that Flybe has gone into administration.

Around 2,000 jobs are now at risk after fresh attempts to save Flybe – Southampton Airport’s largest airline operator – collapsed.

The carrier narrowly avoided going bust in January but continued to lose money since then.

A drop in demand caused by the coronavirus reportedly made a difficult situation worse.

The airline announced in the early hours of Thursday it had ceased trading with immediate effect and that administrators had been appointed.

Despite passengers describing the departure longue as “deserted”, a Southampton Airport spokesperson insisted that the airport would “absolutely 100 per cent” remain open and is completely committed to expansion plans.

Flybe was reportedly responsible for 95% of flights at the airport, but the spokesperson said the airport is focused on backfilling and rebuilding its route network and has already seen success in securing the services of Logan Air and Eastern Airways.

The spokesperson added: “We continue to put our people and our passengers first – the demand [for flights] has not gone away, we need to ensure we are in the best position to attract more airlines to help deliver vital regional connectivity.”

The airport’s managing director, Neil Garwood added: “Thursday was a tough day for Southampton Airport and for all regions across the UK.

“At this time our focus is on our people and our passengers, and especially the Flybe staff who have been part of the airport family for many years.

“We will be taking stock of where we are in the coming days, and working hard to find alternatives for passengers and connectivity for the people across our region.

“Demand for flying remains, and regional connectivity is more important than ever.

“The budget next week is a chance for the Government to show leadership by abolishing air passenger duty tax and showing visible support for regional aviation in this country.”

Crisis talks were held throughout Wednesday to try to secure a rescue package for Flybe, but no deal was agreed.

Since then, Hampshire MPs have called for urgent clarity and a plan to safeguard local jobs.

In a statement, Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes said: “The news regarding Flybe is extremely worrying, especially for the 1,500 people in my constituency whose jobs rely on Flybe and Southampton Airport.

“The commercial challenges facing Flybe are well documented and that is why I have been working with the Government and the industry to find a solution since January.

“We urgently need clarity on the situation and a plan to safeguard jobs.

“I will continue to do all I can to ensure the long-term viability of Southampton Airport with or without Flybe.”

Keith House the leader of Eastleigh Borough Council added: “Southampton Airport is an essential part of the south Hampshire economy and provides crucial links to many destinations.

“The Government needs to help save jobs and services following tonight’s news of Flybe.”

Meanwhile, Romsey MP, Caroline Nokes questioned the Government concerning its “agenda about connectivity”, claiming residents need parts of the country to remain accessible to the whole of the UK, and the collapse of Flybe would make that “incredibly challenging”.

All Flybe flights and those operated by sister airline Stobart Air were cancelled yesterday with passengers across the UK left stranded.

Flybe was bought by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital last February, after struggling with finances.

CEO Mark Anderson said the company had made “every possible attempt” to avoid collapse.

He added: “Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation. I would like to thank the Flybe team for their incredible commitment and dedication.”