Devon’s councils have welcomed the news Government plans to defer some of Flybe’s air passenger duty payments.

Following crunch talks between the airline’s bosses and the government after it was announced it was at risk of collapse, the proposals to cut the duty could see Exeter-based Flybe stay operational.

Cllr Ben Ingham, leader of East Devon District Council, said: “I very much welcome Government’s commitment to regional connectivity, thus securing 1,000 jobs in our area and providing much-needed connections for businesses and residents.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the company to ensure that there is a clear and sustainable vision for the future, and we stand ready to do everything we can to help realise this. This includes taking forward proposals to develop a sustainable aviation cluster at Exeter Airport.”

The government is due to review air passenger duty, which was introduced to pay for the environmental costs of aviation on passengers aged 16 and over departing from UK airports.

Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “This will be an immense relief to the hundreds of Devon people who work for Flybe directly, the companies that supply them and the businesses and travellers who use these important links to other parts of the UK and foreign destinations.

“We can ill afford to lose any links with the rest of the country and the access Flybe provides to international destinations and we need similar security for our road and rail links.

“Devon’s chief executive, Phil Norrey, and I have invited leaders of Flybe and Virgin to meet with us to see what we can do as local councils, along with East Devon and Exeter, to help them continue to benefit our local economy.”

Cllr Phil Bialyk, leader of Exeter City Council, said he was 'absolutely delighted' with the announcement.

"There were 2,400 people throughout the country, and over 1,000 locally who were worrying about their jobs with the loss of Flybe. I am so pleased that the government has seen sense and is supporting them.

"It is not an ailing industry, it is an industry that has been affected widely by a number of factors. But I am so pleased for those families who in this moment now know that their jobs are secure.

"We are working together with the leader of Devon County Council and the leader of East Devon District Council to see what else we can do in our own little way, as local authorities, to support that business and the jobs it creates, and I am so pleased about that."