LONDON (AP) – Struggling United Kingdom (UK) regional airline Flybe collapsed for the second time in three years over the weekend, putting jobs on the line and leaving passengers stranded.
The airline initially slumped into bankruptcy in March 2020, shedding 2,400 jobs, as coronavirus restrictions decimated the travel industry. It relaunched in April last year, flying many of the same routes out of Belfast, Birmingham and London Heathrow.
In a statement, the grounded flyer said it called in bankruptcy accountants again, and warned passengers not to travel to airports as flights were now cancelled, including its international routes from Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said passengers should “make their own alternative travel arrangements via other airlines, rail or coach operators”, leaving customers with lengthy and potentially expensive trips to get home.
CAA consumer director Paul Smith said, “It is always sad to see an airline enter administration and we know that Flybe’s decision to stop trading will be distressing for its employees and customers.”
Flybe returned to the skies less than 12 months ago with a plan to operate up to 530 flights per week across 23 routes. Its business and assets were purchased in April 2021 by Thyme Opco, which is linked to United States hedge fund Cyrus Capital.
The UK government said its immediate priority would be to support anyone trying to get home and those who have lost their jobs.
“This remains a challenging environment for airlines, both old and new, as they recover from the pandemic, and we understand the impact this will have on Flybe’s passengers and staff,” it said.
“The CAA is providing advice to passengers to help them make their journeys as smoothly and affordably as possible.”
It added that most of Flybe’s destinations were within the UK, so alternative means of transport were available.