Flybe’s board has confirmed it is in discussions with a number of strategic operators about a potential sale of the company. The announcement follows warnings over tumbling profits, a weaker pound and rising fuel costs.

While the Exeter-based regional carrier hasn’t disclosed the names of any potential buyers, it remains to be seen whether Stobart Group, which owns and operates London Southend Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport, will come forward as a possible rescuer. Earlier this year, Stobart launched a takeover bid for the struggling airline, but the two organisations failed to agree terms.

Flybe is also looking at further capacity and cost-saving measures, as part of a comprehensive review of its options. Evercore, an investment banking advisory company headquartered in New York, has been appointed as the airline’s financial adviser to assist with this review.

The carrier, which serves destinations around the UK and Europe has 78 planes operating from smaller airports including Exeter, Southampton, Norwich and London City.

An open letter signed by various civic leaders from Exeter and the surrounding region has acknowledged the role Flybe plays, as one of the largest businesses and employers in the area.

The letter highlighted that: “Our evidence reveals that the airport and aviation sector currently contribute circa £150 million of GVA every year to the local economy… We are keen to ensure that this contribution continues to develop in to the future.”

The letter also referenced recent work to improve the road and transport network around Exeter Airport to make it easier for passengers to access facilities.

“In summary, we want to have both a thriving airport and airline locally. We stand ready to work with you to further develop the importance of the aviation sector to the locality and to ensure that local people and businesses alike can benefit from this.”

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