Flybe’s architect steps down from airline after two decades

Marion Dakers
FLYBE chairman Jim French has left the airline after more than 20 years, as the firm’s new boss ploughs on with a restructuring.

French, who was chairman and chief executive until the role was split in the summer, will be replaced by Quintain non-executive director Simon Laffin with immediate effect, the firm announced yesterday.

"Jim French deserves recognition as the architect of Flybe’s development into a leading regional airline and, on behalf of everyone at Flybe, I would like to thank him for his contribution over many years,” said new chief executive Saad Hammad.

Hammad kicked off a strategic review of the business when he took the reins in August, as he tried to reverse the slump in regional short-haul air travel.

Flybe sold its landing slots at Gatwick to EasyJet earlier this year, raising £20m. The firm’s shares closed up 2.9 per cent.