Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 5th March 2020
Passengers have been left stranded in various parts of the country after Flybe called in administrators and ceased trading across its business with immediate effect.
The loss-making airline has long played a key role in the UK’s domestic air travel sector but has succumbed to a series of ongoing operational challenges and a lack of access to finance.
Flybe has been seeking to secure emergency funding in the shape of a £100 million loan from the government but that support has not been forthcoming.
Although the company was already struggling to avoid collapse early in 2020, its finances have taken a further turn for the worse in recent weeks with the coronavirus outbreak leading to a downturn in flight bookings.
There are concerns among industry watchers that all airline companies will find themselves dealing with significant financial strains over the course of the next few months as the coronavirus situation continues to cause disruption worldwide.
Indeed, some analysts are suggesting that Flybe could soon be followed into administration by other airline operators and there are worries as well about businesses within the supply chains of those companies.
In the short-term, Flybe is telling its customers as of March 5th not to travel to the airports where they were scheduled to fly because their flights have been cancelled and alternative arrangements are not being made by the company.
There are around 2,000 people employed directly by Flybe and they could be set to lose their jobs, with the union GMB suggesting that a further 1,400 jobs within the company’s supply chain could also be under threat as a result of the Exeter-based airline’s collapse.
In a note to his staff, Flybe’s chief executive Mark Anderson wrote that every effort was made to secure rescue funding to keep the airline afloat but a “feasible solution” in the end could not be found.
“I am very sorry that we have not been able to secure the funding needed to continue to deliver our turnaround,” he wrote.
A statement given on behalf of the government said: “We are working closely with industry to minimise any disruption to routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not already covered by other airlines can be re-stablished by the industry.”