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Scottish regional carrier Loganair yesterday announced that it will pick up five ‘key’ routes following the collapse of Flybmi.
The airline said the announcement that Flybmi was filing for administration on Saturday was “unfortunate news”.
Loganair has secured Flybmi’s former flights from Aberdeen to Bristol, Oslo and Esbjerg, though these will not commence until 4 March. It will also pick up services from Newcastle to Stavanger and Brussels from 25 March.
Flybmi blamed its demise on higher fuel prices and Brexit uncertainty, saying the issues undermined its efforts to return to profitability and led to the carrier failing to secure funding to continue operations. It also said its downfall “mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry”.
The collapse left passengers stranded abroad, with many saying they could not afford to make alternative arrangements without a refund for their Flybmi flights. There have also been accusations that the airline continued to sell tickets for future dates when it ‘knew full well’ that it couldn’t honour them, with fares on sale within hours of its announcement that it would cancel all services.
The closure also led to the loss of nearly 400 jobs across the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium, though some staff have stayed on to assist the administrator, BDO.
Jonathan Hinkles, MD of Loganair, said: “It’s always really sad to see an airline go out of business and our thoughts are with all those affected – particularly staff members. We are evaluating Flybmi’s wider network and assessing routes which align with Loganair’s distinct geographical area and overall strategic plans. We are also working on employment opportunities for pilots, cabin crew and engineering support staff to strengthen the Loganair team.”
Meanwhile, fellow regional carrier Eastern Airways has given its sympathies to Flybmi staff on Twitter, saying it would “welcome CVs” from former pilots.
Easyjet is also offering to help passengers left stranded by Flybmi’s closure with a one-way £80/€90 ‘rescue fee’ to connect to its flights between Bristol and Paris-Charles de Gaulle.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has advised customers who booked Flybmi flights using a credit, debit or charge card to contact their card provider for advice, as they may be able to make a claim. Those who purchased travel insurance may be covered for airline failure, while those who used a travel agent should check with them in the first instance.
Flybmi’s collapse came just days after the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy agreed a new subsidy for the Stansted-City of Derry flights that were operated by the carrier. Derry City and Strabane District Council says it is in emergency talks with the DfT to find a replacement airline for the route, which was popular with businesses.