Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has collapsed into administration with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs, less than two months after the government announced a rescue deal. As the Covid-19 epidemic takes a heavy toll on the global travel industry, the carrier has grounded all its flights and ceased trading with immediate effect.
Flybe entered Administration on 5 March 2020 and Alan Hudson, Joanne Robinson, Lucy Winterborne and Simon Edel of EY have been appointed as Joint Administrators.
All flights were cancelled and airline urged passengers not to go to airports.
Flybe passengers and staff are being offered free travel by all First Rail train operators, which consist of Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast. EasyJet has offered rescue fares for passengers and free flights to Flybe staff to get home.
The Exeter-based airline was bought a year ago by a consortium headed by Virgin Atlantic, and involving Stobart Group and the US hedge fund Cyrus Capital. The consortium had asked the government for a loan, and to defer its payment of Air Passenger Duty. The continued spread of coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has hit airlines around the world as people stop travelling.
GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: “The collapse of Flybe is already having a domino effect on good jobs across regions, where aviation is vital for sustaining connectivity and supporting local economies.”
Loganair, Scotland’s Airline, has reacted to the closure of Flybe by announcing plans to safeguard UK regional connectivity by taking up 16 routes formerly flown by Flybe. The airline will be adding nearly 400 new flights each week and has opened a special recruitment line for former Flybe employees seeking to continuing their aviation careers with Loganair.
The 16 routes – from existing Loganair base airports at Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle – will be launched progressively over the next four months. Flights on the first and largest group of these key air routes will commence as early as Monday 16 March.