Europe’s once-largest regional airline collapses
Struggling British regional airline Flybe announced on Saturday that it has stopped ticket sales and cancelled all flights, signaling a potential bankruptcy.
According to a notice on its website, the company has entered administration, a form of protection from creditors when a company becomes insolvent.
“Flybe has now ceased trading and all flights from and to the UK operated by Flybe have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled… If you are due to fly with Flybe today or in the future, please do not travel to the airport unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers,” the notice said.
Headquartered in Birmingham, Flybe had been Europe’s largest regional airline prior to the pandemic, carrying about 8 million passengers a year via 81 airports throughout the UK and Europe. It was first pushed into administration in March 2020 when the travel market was hit by pandemic restrictions.
The company resumed operations on a smaller scale in April of last year after its business and assets were purchased by Thyme Opco, an entity linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital. However, it failed to build back its business amid lingering effects of the pandemic on the airline industry and competition from more established low-cost operators.
The UK High Court has appointed David Pike and Mike Pink from the financial advisory firm Interpath as joint administrators to Flybe. Pike told Reuters that the company would look for new investors to rescue it from complete financial ruin. A spokesperson for Interpath said Flybe would retain only 45 out of its 321 employees for the time being. He noted that about 75,000 Flybe customers who had future bookings will be affected by the flight cancellations.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that Flybe passengers who could no longer use their tickets would be offered discounts on flights with other airlines.
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