Regional airline Flybe has collapsed into administration.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the airline was struggling due to a general drop in demand for air travel amid the outbreak of the Coronavirus COVID-19. The airline escaped collapse in January 2020 when it was rescued by a loan from the government. On Wednesday evening, reports suggested that the airline had been unsuccessful in finding new funds to continue operations and that the airline would collapse.
The airline’s last flight arrived at Aberdeen airport, where passengers disembarked the plane shortly after midnight in the early hours of Thursday 5 March 2020.
In an email sent to staff in the early hours of Thursday morning, the airline’s CEO Mark Anderson confirmed that the airline would be going into administration. Mr Anderson wrote to staff: “Despite your hard work, commitment and some amazing results which we have delivered, and have been achieving up to the last day of operation – particularly for our customers who depend on us across the country, we have come to the end of the road.”
“While our shareholders and the Leadership Team have worked with the Government and key suppliers to try to get the funding and support needed, this has not materialised. The coronavirus has impacted both our shareholders and ourselves and has put additional pressure on an already difficult situation. I am very sorry that we have not been able to secure the funding needed to continue to deliver our turnaround plan.”
“Although I have only had the honour of being your CEO for 8 months, it’s been an incredible privilege to lead such an amazing team of people and the Flybe family. I could not have asked for more – your unwavering commitment, support and resilience to deliver for our customers has been truly inspiring. I am just so sorry that we have not been able to see this through. I feel so proud of you and want to take this opportunity to thank you and wish you the very best for the future.”
The collapse of the airline follows the collapse of other UK airlines, Monarch Airlines and Thomas Cook all since 2017.
Flybe carried around 8 million passengers last year and employed 2,500 staff. The collapse of the airline is expected to result in significant job losses, and also cause serious implications for many regional airports, including Anglesey, Southampton, Belfast City, Exeter, Newquay, Wick, Jersey and Cardiff, for which the airline represented over half of each airport’s departures in 2019, according to Cirium data.
EY will oversee the administration of the company. The airline had no planes based overseas, so the role of the Civil Aviation Authority is expected to be limited compared to the collapses of Thomas Cook and Monarch Airlines.
Unite National officer Oliver Richardson said, reacting to the airline’s collapse, “Unite members and the entire staff at Flybe, will be feeling angry and confused about how and why the airline has been allowed to collapse. He added, “It is simply outrageous that the government has not learned the lessons following Monarch and Thomas Cook’s collapses, the much promised airline insolvency review has still not materialised.
Meanwhile, the British Airline Pilots’ Association said “It’s frankly sickening that other airlines have gone out of their way to push Flybe over the brink, putting 2,000 people out of work.” It added that it would be “supporting the pilots in coming to terms with this situation and helping them with their rights and entitlements as well as training them for alternative jobs.”
All Flybe flights have been cancelled, although some airlines who operated routes on behalf of Flybe may still be operating flights.
If you were due to fly with Flybe, you can find the latest information at flybe.com