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Published: 13th January 2020

The regional airline company Flybe is in talks with potential backers who its bosses hope might be able to help them avoid having to put the business in administration.

Reports from Sky News suggest that EY is preparing to potentially handle the airline’s administration processes, while enquiries are being made around whether the government might be able to provide emergency funding to the company.

Flybe is the among the largest regional airline businesses in Europe and handles most domestic flights in the UK outside of London.

However, the business has been reporting serious financial difficulties in recent months and years, having effectively been rescued from potential collapse by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic in February 2019.

That consortium is made up of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and Cyrus Capital, who collectively paid £2.2 million to acquire Flybe’s assets and operations last year.

Representatives of the pilots’ union have expressed their frustration at being kept in the dark about what might happen to Flybe, which is a very significant employer within the UK’s aviation sector.

"Flybe is the among the largest regional airline businesses in Europe and handles most domestic flights in the UK outside of London."

Britain’s airlines industry, as well as its holidays and travel agency sector, was affected badly in the second half of last year when the Thomas Cook Group collapsed suddenly in September, with all of its UK entities entered quickly into compulsory liquidation.   

Flybe operates more than 70 aircraft and flies in and out of dozens of airports across the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

There has been a particularly strong Flybe presence at regional British airports in Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton and Belfast.

Despite reports emerging that its business could be on the verge of collapse unless emergency funding is found, Flybe has been keen to insist that it will be operating as normal for the foreseeable future.

Statements given by the company on the evening of January 12th said: “Flybe continues to provide great service and connectivity for our customers while ensuring they can continue to travel as planned.”

It was also made clear that the company and its bosses won’t be commenting on what they refer to for now as “rumour” and “speculation”.

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