Budget airline Duo axes team as it goes bust

Duo, the budget airline that collapsed last week after running out of cash, has axed its five-person marketing team headed by interim sales and marketing director Rob Rees and head of marketing Duncan Osborne.

Duo launched in November offering business-class services at economy prices, but the airline went into administration on Saturday leaving hundreds of travellers stranded at airports across Europe.

Rees joined the airline in January from Orange with a brief to increase sales. He claims seat sales rose to 40,000 in April from 18,000 in previous months. But he says the company was let down by a private equity investor, which failed to deliver a promised £4m cash injection last month.

“I’ve been successful and doubled sales, but it wasn’t enough,” says Rees. He adds that the airline’s £1m marketing budget was insufficient to take on established airlines. However, he believes Duo’s strategy of combining budget prices with in-flight services was ahead of its time, and he calls it “the future of aviation”.

Before Orange, Rees worked at Campbell’s and he has held senior marketing positions at Vodafone and Pepsi.

About 260 Duo staff are being made redundant, leaving a small team of senior managers – thought to include chief executive Peter Spencer – to help administrators Deloitte wind up the business.

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