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11th March 2009

New Training Academy plans receive council green light

Leading regional airline receives go ahead from East Devon planners

Flybe, Europe's largest and most successful regional airline, is delighted to report it is one step closer to starting construction of its new multi-million pound 25-classroom Training Academy at Exeter International Airport following yesterday’s approval of its Planning Application by East Devon District Council.

The much-awaited decision follows an exhaustive consultation process that was successfully undertaken with all interested parties by the airline after its initial application was registered with the local planning authority late last year.

Flybe’s new Training Academy will allow it to integrate all of its training on one site for the first time. The state-of-the-art facility will incorporate up to four Flight Simulators and integrated Apprentice Workshop that will allow Flybe to offer training to other airlines and companies. This will be complemented by an adjoining 160-bedroom hotel.

Simon Witts, Flybe’s Director Safety, Quality and Training says: “We are excited and absolutely delighted to have received the Council’s approval that gives us the green light to move forward with our plans and we fully expect to be on site sometime in July 2009, with completion scheduled for Spring 2010. 

“What has been especially heartening during our consultation process is the positive feedback and enthusiasm with which the project has been embraced particularly by our local communities.  Our plans did not receive any objections from any of the agencies involved nor from any of our adjoining Parish Councils; indeed one even went so far as to describe the new Training Academy proposal as an ‘exciting application’. East Devon’s report also contained a very supportive recommendation from its Economic Development Manager who regarded our application as ‘one of the most important I have been asked to comment on during my time with the Council’ adding that Flybe, as one of the South West’s largest private employers, ‘can only be regarded as one of the key drivers of the local and sub regional economy’.

More than a third of Flybe’s 3000+ employees are based at the airline’s Exeter headquarters and its workforce is forecast to grow by a further 15% over the next five years.

Adds Mr Witts: “We are delighted to be one step closer to realising our commitment to opening a state of the art Training Academy for the benefit of all our staff; as well as also being one step closer to helping address the crucial need for skills’ development in the South West through the delivery of economically valuable industry and sector qualifications. We look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners in making this exciting plan a reality. It’s truly a win-win for all – and it’s now all systems go!”