- It collapses for the second time in three years.
- 276 workers fired by administrators
- About 75,000 customers had future reservations
- Affected by the delay in the delivery of aircraft
- Rivals see demand picking up
LONDON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – British regional airline Flybe ceased operations on Saturday 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 operated scheduled services from Belfast, Birmingham and Heathrow in the UK and to Amsterdam and Geneva, had entered administration, a form of protection from creditors.
“Flybe has now ceased operations and all flights to and from the UK operated by Flybe have been canceled and will not be rescheduled,” it said.
He advised people who were going to fly not to travel to airports.
A spokesman for administrators Interpath Advisory said around 75,000 Flybe customers had future bookings that would now go unfulfilled.
Based in Birmingham, Flybe operated flights on 21 routes to 17 destinations in the UK and Europe using a fleet of eight leased Q400 turboprop aircraft.
Interpath’s David Pike and Mike Pink have been named joint managers of Flybe.
Pike said Flybe had struggled to withstand a number of shocks since its relaunch last year, including the late delivery of 17 aircraft from lessors, severely compromising its efforts to regain capacity and remain competitive.
It said that reduced elements of Flybe’s operating platform would be retained for a short period as long as there was the possibility of a bailout transaction. He encouraged anyone interested to get in touch urgently.
An Interpath spokesman said 45 members of Flybe’s 321 employees have been retained so far.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it would provide advice and information to affected passengers.
“It’s always sad to see an airline go into administration and we know that Flybe’s decision to cease operations will be heartbreaking for all its employees and customers,” said Paul Smith, CAA’s consumer director.
Affected 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 firm controlled by Cyrus Capital, and in April 2022 it resumed flights, albeit on a smaller scale.
Flybe’s demise contrasts with a post-pandemic rebound in demand for air travel.
Budget airlines ryanair (RYA.I)the largest airline in Europe and the British easyJet (EZJ.L) have reported record bookings for the summer holidays, in a sign that consumers remain keen on travel despite the looming recession.
Louise Haigh, a transport spokeswoman for the opposition Labor Party, said Flybe’s collapse was “devastating news” for staff and customers.
“Passenger protection is simply not strong enough, and ministers have sat idly by for years and failed to introduce long-promised airline insolvency laws,” he said.
The Unite union said the government had learned no lessons from Flybe’s first collapse.
(Reporting by Mrinmay Dey and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru and James Davey in London, editing by William Mallard and Jason Neely)
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