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Troubled regional carrier Flybe went into administration
overnight, putting 2,000 at risk and leaving passengers without flights, with coronavirus partially blamed for its downfall.
A notice on the airline’s website advises customers not to
travel to the airport unless they have arranged an alternative flight. Those
with a booking sold by another carrier that includes travel on a Flybe service
are advised to contact the airline they purchased their ticket from to confirm
if there is any impact on their travel.
Those affected by the collapse can find more information on
the next steps to take on the Civil Aviation Authority’s website, caa.co.uk.
LNER is offering free travel to Flybe staff who show a valid employee ID and passengers who can show a valid booking reference, while Easyjet is offering to re-accommodate customers on alternative flights until the end of May for a £65 fee including up to 15kg of hold luggage.
Exeter-based Flybe had been in talks with the government
over a potential rescue deal that included a £100 million loan, deferment of
around £10 million in taxes and an official review of domestic Air Passenger Duty
(APD) to determine if reducing the charge could ease the burden on the
However, the Financial Times reported yesterday that the
loan had not been agreed, with a source close to Flybe saying a slow-down in
demand caused by coronavirus had put extra pressure on the company’s finances.
The airline was acquired by Connect Airways, a consortium
made up of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital, last year as it
struggled to find financing to keep flying. A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic
said it was “deeply disappointed” that the carrier had gone into administration,
saying it had invested more than £135 million in keeping Flybe in the air over
the last year.
In a letter to staff, Mark Anderson, chief executive of Connect Airways, said: “Despite every effort, we now have no alternative –
having failed to find a feasible solution to allow us to keep trading. I am
very sorry that we have not been able to secure the funding needed to continue
to deliver our turnaround.”
The UK government said it will work with the airline
industry to help Flybe workers find new jobs and “to minimise any disruption to
routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not
already covered by other airlines can be re-established by the industry.”
The collapse will be a blow for business travellers who fly
often on routes only operated by Flybe. The carrier accounted for about 95 per
cent of flights at Southampton.