Flybe has gone into administration after struggling financially amid a steep fall in bookings due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
At 3am this morning, one of Britain’s largest airlines, Flybe entered administration. All Flybe flights are now grounded and the business has ceased all trading “with immediate effect”.
Pilots’ union Balpa has accused the government as well as the owners of the airline of “betrayal and broken promises” and questions how important transport links will be maintained regionally.
In addition to 2,400 staff, the administration has threatened 1,400 jobs in the supply chain and put the future of regional airports at risk.
Flybe had already gotten close to collapsing earlier this year, before talks between its owners and the government secured a reprieve for the struggling airline.
But since then, disagreements over the terms of a £100m taxpayer loan had left the company worried and a drop of bookings caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 has been blamed for delivering a final blow to the company.
Just hours before the official announcement of its collapse, Flybe boss Mark Anderson said in an email to airline’s staff that it was “shortly being put into administration” suggesting the COVID-19 outbreak as a key reason for this action.
Flybe was the largest independent airline in Europe, responsible for transporting around eight million passengers annually between 81 airports throughout Europe. It had operated, under multiple names, for over 40 years.
Alan Hudson, joint administrator of accountancy firm EY, who has been appointed to handle the administration process, has said: “Despite an agreement with the government to provide assistance to the company, added pressures on the travel industry in the last few weeks have further deepened the severity of its financial situation.”
“Flybe had already been impacted by rising fuel costs, currency volatility, and market uncertainty.”
Passengers that were due to fly with Flybe have been told to not travel to the airport unless they have been booked on an alternative flight with another airline.
On Wednesday, Flybe staff on the final flights for the airline were reportedly in tears whilst waiting on the confirmation that they were losing their jobs, which came a few hours later.
The train operating company, Avanti West Coast, have said that Flybe passengers are free to travel on its trains today free of charge to help them reach their destinations.
The rail operator’s free travel offer also extends to Flybe staff.