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Flybe defend eco-credentials ahead of Exeter Extinction Rebellion protest

Exeter-based airline Flybe has defended its environmental record ahead of a protest by the climate pressure group Extinction Rebellion.

Activists are protesting outside the Flybe headquarters at Exeter Airport this morning, calling on the government to refuse Flybe a reported £100 million cash boost and tax break.

Local GP Dr Jane Kostelnik said: “We know that any measures that support regional airport expansion will increase carbon emissions and pollute our already toxic air.”

Flybe bosses met protest organisers to outline the airline’s environmental credentials.

A spokesperson said: “Flybe is the world’s largest operator of the De Havilland Dash 8-400, which is amongst the most environmentally efficient passenger aircraft.

Extinction Rebellion Protestors arrive outside North Somerset Town Council
(Image: Bath Chronicle)

“In 2007, it was the first airline to launch an eco-label for the aircraft in its fleet.”

The airline was bought out by a consortium, Connect Airways, founded by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and Cyrus Capital Partners.

In January Tim Jones, chairman of the South West Business Council, welcomed moves to keep Flybe airborne and safeguard 2,400 jobs.

It was reported that Ministers had drafted in advisers to help thrash out a government loan to Flybe, but insisted that a financial support package would not involve state aid.

Extinction Rebellion said that instead of giving a handout to the airline, public money would be better invested in local green infrastructure projects that would benefit everyone.

Rolling out the purple carpet: Eastern Airways' Flybe franchise has seen additional routes launch.
(Image: NEWSLINE MEDIA LIMITED)

Extinction Rebellion supporters are protesting to raise awareness of what they say is the climate and transport injustice of the government bailing out a failing airline and considering rethinking air passenger tax duties, to make it easier for regional airlines to make a profit.

Sharon Pavey, speaking for Extinction Rebellion, said: “We are in a climate and ecological emergency and need to act now to reduce our carbon emissions to zero by 2025. This is the last UK government that will be able to take decisive action that could make a difference.

“It is therefore perverse that while on the one hand, they appear to pay lip service to our needs, on the other they are quick to consider state aid to a failing airline that is in part responsible for a significant amount of the most damaging carbon emissions.”

The protest was due to start at 10am today outside the Flybe headquarters at Exeter Airport.

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