FLYBE is to withdraw from Gatwick next year after selling its 25 take-off and landing slots to EasyJet for £20m.
The regional carrier, which expects annual losses of up to £23m, will be left running just a handful of flights in and out of London.
Flybe boss Jim French blamed the soaring charges at Gatwick airport for his firm’s exit. “No business can swallow cost increases of more than 100 per cent over five years and Flybe simply cannot bear such punitive rises,” he said.
The Civil Aviation Authority permitted Gatwick to hike the amount it makes from aeronautical income, which includes airport charges, by two per cent above inflation over the last five years. However, charges can vary widely between seasons and airlines.
Flybe has also cut 590 jobs and delayed an order for 16 new planes.