Flybe review could affect EU's decision on Ryanair
UK regional airline Flybe has said it's too early to say whether its Irish operations will be affected by a route review announced this week.
A spokesman said the airline is consulting with its trade unions and staff representative bodies and won't be making any announcements until they are fully informed.
Any decision to reduce services to Ireland – and there's no indication yet that Flybe will – could impact Ryanair's appeal to the European Commission to be allowed buy Aer Lingus, as less competition in the market could be negative for Ryanair.
Earlier this year, Ryanair launched an appeal against Brussels' rejection of its latest effort to buy Aer Lingus.
Ryanair had agreed to hand over 43 Aer Lingus routes, €100m in cash and €50m in advance ticket receipts to Flybe if it succeeded in acquiring the former state-owned airline.
But that wasn't enough to persuade the European Commission.
If Flybe was to reduce its own services out of Ireland as a result of its current review, that could adversely impact Ryanair's appeal as there would be even less competition in the Irish market. Flybe has recently expanded its services from Knock to the UK.
Shares in Flybe plunged as much as 15pc yesterday after the airline said that its single biggest shareholder, Rosedale Aviation, sold its 48pc stake in the carrier. Rosedale is controlled by a trust belonging to the family of late steel magnate Jack Walker.
News of the share sale came just a day after Flybe announced a major structural review and said it will axe 500 jobs on top of the more than 300 losses it slated earlier this year.
The fresh turnaround plan will include optimising its operations and reviewing unprofitable routes, it said.