Flybe chief executive Saad Hammad would be stepping down with immediate effect

Flybe chief executive officer Saad Hammad will be stepping down with immediate effect, the airline confirmed on Wednesday (26 October).

The budget carrier, which connects UK regional airports to London and selected European destinations, said Hammad was departing by "mutual agreement" after a stint of over three years.

Hammad, a former easyJet and Air Berlin executive who joined Flybe in 2013, brought the airline back to profitability instituting aggressive cuts to employee headcount and wages, sale of airport slots, including lucrative ones at London's Gatwick airport, and the culling of unprofitable routes.

Flybe said its non-executive chairman Simon Laffin will step up as executive chairman while the airline seeks a new CEO.

In a statement, Hammad said: "Now is the right time for me to move on to a fresh challenge." However, neither the airline, nor its departing CEO elaborated further on the reasons for his sudden departure.

In July, Flybe posted a 5% rise in first quarter passenger revenue but warned that the Brexit vote and terror attacks across Europe were likely to have a "materially adverse impact" on its headline performance.