A storm was brewing on this Flybe flight - and not just because of the weather

15 January 2020, 11:50 | Updated: 15 January 2020, 12:47

On board a Flybe flight from London Heathrow to Newquay on Tuesday morning, I spoke to cabin crew who had no idea whether it would be their last-ever journey for the airline.

They were worried, tense and pessimistic about keeping their jobs - especially after the demise of Monarch and Thomas Cook.

But they had to carry on like there was no issue. They sprung into action - helping a passenger who had a panic attack after we battled through Storm Brendan and were diverted to Bristol Airport about 150 miles away.

To me, it was obvious the wait and the worry of the past few days had been agony.

We wanted to get to Newquay to look at the impact it would have on businesses and people in Cornwall if Flybe went bust - they operate nine routes from Newquay and four trips a day between London and the region's only airport.

But a couple of hours into our journey, the news broke that Flybe has been saved - for now.

We arrived at Exeter Airport, Flybe's headquarters. Here they have over 1,000 staff members which include engineers, office staff and even the CEO.

They've got a training academy here and the airport mainly operates Flybe services. In the small arrivals hall, passengers were greeted with hugs, huge sighs of relief, and elation to hear that the airline had been saved.

Speaking to staff at the airport in the evening, they too were delighted. The duty manager told Sky News: "Without Flybe many of the ground staff, security and engineers will probably have to be laid off."

It was business as usual the following day.

At Exeter airport, commuters arrived early to get on a flight to Manchester. On the return leg, as passengers and the crew stepped off the propeller plane, the captain raised his fist and gave me a thumbs up with a huge grin on his face, clearly happy he still has his job.

I spoke to him later in the airport terminal, and he said: "We are all mighty relieved. Many of us have been worried and tense over the past few days, but I'm so glad we've pulled through."

One elderly couple, who were picking up their son from the airport, told me: "It's very good news, very important for Exeter airport. Our son has just flown from America via Manchester.

"If it had gone under it would have been catastrophic."

A 21-year-old university student told me: "If I didn't get back to Exeter today, I'd have missed the start of uni. It's a lifesaver really."

The airline's demise would have left a huge vacuum that was hard to fill.

While there will be talks over the next few days about the stability of this rescue deal, there will be millions of passengers and thousands of staff across the country very happy - for now.