A regional airport providing a key link between the Channel Islands and the South West has received a £1m bailout from its local council in a bid to save it from 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.
Guernsey currently has flights to Exeter via Jersey, operated by Blue Islands.
Despite the route’s popularity, the collapse of Flybe and the pandemic's impact on travel have seen passenger numbers fall to just 10% of their usual volume.
Pictured: The route was put at risk in March after its operator of many years, Flybe, collapsed.
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. 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.
The link with Exeter was reinstated by Blue Islands in September after being suspended due to covid-19.
Pictured: Blue Islands operates the route between Exeter and the Channel Islands.
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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