British regional carrier cancels its flying programme and grounds its aircraft
Flybe has “ceased trading” and cancelled all flights to and from the UK with immediate effect after entering administration. A brief statement posted on the regional carrier’s website this morning (January 28, 2023) confirmed the appointment of joint administrators by the UK High Court and said its flying programme “will not be rescheduled.” It added: “If you are due to fly with Flybe today or in the future, please do not travel to the airport unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Please note that Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.”
Customers booked to travel with the airline have been advised to seek further guidance from the UK CAA. Paul Smith, consumer director at the authority, 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 all its employees and customers.
“We urge passengers planning to fly with this airline not to go to the airport as all Flybe flights are cancelled. For the latest advice, Flybe customers should visit the Civil Aviation Authority’s website or our Twitter feed for more information.”
The CAA has now published advice for passengers relating to ticket refunds.
The collapse of Flybe 2.0, as the airline has been widely dubbed, comes barely nine months after its relaunch and caps off a turbulent period for the carrier. Once a household name with an extensive domestic and regional network, the new-look Flybe only resumed operations in April 2022 following the acquisition of its business assets by Thyme Opco, a company linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital. It had previously ceased flying in March 2020 amid long-running financial difficulties.
At time of its failure, Birmingham-based Flybe 2.0 was flying scheduled services to ten domestic destinations including Belfast, London/Heathrow, Edinburgh, and Newcastle, together with Amsterdam and Geneva, with a fleet of eight De Havilland Canada Dash 8-Q400s. It had already revised its winter programme, including the suspension of its Belfast to Southampton route and reduction of frequencies elsewhere, amid capacity issues caused by further delays in the delivery of its aircraft.
According to aviation data provider Cirium, it was due to operate 292 flights next week (Jan 30-Feb 5), equivalent to more than 22,700 seats.
Commenting on Flybe’s collapse, the UK government said its “immediate priority” would be to support anyone trying to get home and those who had lost their jobs. A spokesperson added: “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.
“The Civil Aviation Authority is providing advice to passengers to help them make their journeys as smoothly and affordably as possible.
“The majority of destinations served by Flybe are within the UK with alternative transport arrangements available. We recognise that this is an uncertain time for affected employees and their families.
“Jobcentre Plus, through its rapid response service, stands ready to support any employee affected.”