A regional airport providing a key link between Jersey and the South West has received a £1m bailout to prevent it from “worst case scenario” closure.
Exeter Airport provides an important point of access for the many Channel Islands university students based in Exeter and Cornwall, as well as those attending institutions in Bristol and Bath, and is also popular among leisure travellers.
Despite the 45-minute route’s popularity, the collapse of Flybe and the pandemic have seen passenger numbers fall to just 10% of their usual volume.
East Devon District Council was therefore called upon to provide lifeline support.
Last week, it confirmed a package of help valued close to £1m, including a deferral of business rate relief over three years worth £180,000.
Pictured: The package of support for Exeter Airport is worth around £1m.
The rest of the funding is aimed at progressing plans for improved road access to the Airport and a “sustainable aviation cluster.”
“The airport fulfils a crucial role for the area providing local skilled jobs, regional connectivity and a potential development hub for sustainable aviation, through electric or hybrid flights bringing environmental benefits by reducing carbon emissions,” East Devon District Council explained in a statement.
Jersey’s link with Exeter was reinstated in September after being suspended due to covid-19.
The route was put at risk in March after its operator of many years, Flybe, collapsed.
However, Blue Islands - a former franchise partner of Flybe - rescued the route.
Pictured: Blue Islands operates the route between Exeter and Jersey.
The flights between Jersey and Exeter use aircraft based in the Channel Islands, but the airline, which recently received a £10m loan from the Government of Jersey, said it was planning to base an aircraft in Exeter at the end of October, employing around 20 pilots, cabin crew and engineers.
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