276 jobs lost as administrators take over at regional airline

The administrators of Flybe have announced that 276 employees have lost their jobs.

A total of 45 members of staff have been kept on to assist the joint administrators at Interpath Advisory.

The regional airline entered administration over the weekend after struggling since its 2021 relaunch.

David Pike, managing director at Interpath Advisory and Joint Administrator to Flybe said: “We will provide support to those who have been affected by redundancy, including supporting them in making claims from the Redundancy Payments Service, and importantly, we will be helping employees obtain access to important records and information such as training records.”

Flybe operated passenger flights via 21 routes to 17 destinations across the UK and EU, including Belfast City, Birmingham, East Midlands, Glasgow, Heathrow and Leeds Bradford airports. All flights operated by Flybe have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet are offering impacted customers special fares to enable them to reach their destination.

Flybe’s head office in Birmingham employed around 170 people as well as 140 people based in Belfast. A small number of people employed at Exeter have also been affected.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has issued advice to passengers as travel is not ATOL protected, due to the airline mostly selling flight only bookings.

Travellers who paid by credit card may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact their card issuer.

If the booking was made with a debit card, passengers may be able to claim through the bank’s charge back rules.

Interpath Advisory said that they “intend to preserve scaled-back elements of the operating platform for a short period such that a rescue transaction remains a possibility”.

“This is a real setback in terms of the UK’s regional connectivity at a time when infrastructure and levelling up is high on the agenda,” said Pike.

Flybe was awarded its Air Operating Certificate and Licence to Operate in 2021, with operations starting in April 2022. The company’s ambition was to bring the airline back to full capacity, with a focus on establishing regional connectivity across the UK and partnering with operators with access to Europe and the US.

Flybe had routes to London and Manchester from Newquay.

Flybe resumed flights from Newquay at the end of October last year, offering twice daily (Monday to Friday) flights to London Heathrow – with a daily service at weekends – as well as a daily link to Manchester.

Cornwall Council’s economy leader Louis Gardner said the authority would look to other airlines to expand services.

Cornwall Airport Newquay it was “saddened at the news”, adding that people should not travel “unless you have made arrangements with another airline”.

Cornwall Airport Newquay issued a statement expressing its sadness at the news.

It adds: “All Flybe flights to and from Newquay have been cancelled with immediate effect. We will share the full CAA customer advice when we get it. All other flights are unaffected and operating as normal.”

Pike said: “Unfortunately, the company had to withstand a number of shocks since its relaunch, not least of which was the late delivery of 17 aircraft which it needed for its schedule, and which has severely compromised both the airline’s capacity and its ability to remain competitive. This has driven significant financial losses and an associated cash drain for the business.

“Over the past few months, enormous efforts have been undertaken by the directors and key stakeholders to safeguard the future of the business, including undertaking a process to seek new investors and/or owners. Unfortunately, with the aviation sector still adjusting to the ‘new normal’ following the pandemic, it appears the time was not right for this process to reach a successful conclusion.”

The original Flybe airline dated back to the launch of Jersey European Airways in 1979 before it became known as Flybe in 2002.

It was carrying nearly 10m passengers in 2018 but was already in financial difficulties and despite a sale to Connect Airways in early 2019, Flybe ceased all operations in early March 2020, just as Covid was starting to create uncertainty in southern Europe.

In October 2020, Thyme Opco, a company linked to former shareholder Cyrus Capital, had reached an agreement with the administrators to purchase the Flybe brand and relaunch the airline.

The first flight took place on April 13, 2022 – from Birmingham to Belfast – but 290 days later Flybe’s aircraft had been grounded once more.

Pike added: “The ‘new’ Flybe was received warmly by the industry and public alike when it launched last year, so this will be devastating news for all those who have supported the company since then, including employees, passengers, funders and the wider aviation industry.”


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