UK regional airline Flybe halts trading and cancels all flights

  • Collapsing for the second time in three years
  • 276 workers were laid off by administrators
  • About 75,000 customers have future bookings
  • Affected by the delay in the delivery of aircraft
  • Competitors see higher demand

LONDON (Reuters) – British regional airline FlyBe on Saturday suspended trading for the second time in three years, with all flights canceled and 276 workers laid off.

A statement on Flybe’s website said the airline, which operates scheduled services from Belfast, Birmingham and Heathrow across the UK and on to Amsterdam and Geneva, has entered administration, a form of creditor protection.

“Flybe has now suspended trading and canceled all flights to and from the UK operated by Flybe and will not be rescheduled,” the company said.

It advised people scheduled to travel by plane not to travel to airports.

A spokesperson for the officials told Interpath Advisory about 75,000 Flybe customers have future reservations that will not now be honored.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Flybe has operated flights on 21 routes to 17 destinations across the UK and Europe using a fleet of eight Q400 leased aircraft.

Interpath’s David Pike and Mike Pink have been appointed joint directors of Flybe.

Flybe has struggled to weather a number of shocks since its re-launch last year, not the least of which is the delayed delivery of 17 aircraft from lessors, which has severely hurt its efforts to rebuild capacity and remain competitive, Paik said.

He said the trimmed items would be kept on Flybe’s operating platform for a short time while there was a possibility of a bailout deal. Any interested party is encouraged to contact urgently.

An Interpath spokesperson said 45 members of Flybe’s 321-strong workforce have been retained for the time being.

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it would provide advice and information to affected passengers.

“It is always sad to see an airline enter administration and know that Flybe’s decision to cease trading will be heartbreaking for all of its employees and customers,” said Paul Smith, CAA Consumer Director.

After being hit by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in Britain, Flybe first fell into administration in March 2020, affecting 2,400 jobs.

In October 2020 it was sold to Thyme Opco Ltd, a company controlled by Cyrus Capital, and in April 2022 it resumed flights, albeit on a smaller scale.

Flybe’s death contrasts with the post-pandemic recovery in demand for air travel.

Low cost airline Ryanair (RYA.I)Europe’s largest airline, and Britain’s EasyJet (EZJ.L) It reported record bookings for summer vacations, a sign that consumers remain excited about trips despite a looming recession.

Louise Hay, transport spokeswoman for the opposition Labor party, said Flybe’s collapse had been “devastating news” for staff and customers.

“Passenger protection is simply not strong enough – and ministers have sat on their hands for years and failed to implement airline insolvency laws that were promised for so long,” it said.

The United Trade Union said the government had failed to learn lessons from Flybe’s initial collapse.

Additional reporting by Mrinmay Day and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru and James Davey in London; Editing by William Mallard and Jason Neely

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