Flybe set for relaunch next year after sale agreed

The Exeter-based regional carrier has been sold to a former shareholder for an undisclosed sum 

(Photo: Aviation Image Network/Simon Gregory)

UK regional carrier Flybe could restart operations next year after a former shareholder stepped in to buy the airline out of administration. 

The operator – which collapsed in March because investors decided against an injection of cash – has been purchased by Thyme Opco, a company affiliated with an investment advisor and former Flybe shareholder, Cyrus Capital. 

Simon Edel, joint administrator at EY said: “Today’s announcement, and the upcoming completion of this sale, will be great news to communities around the country that were previously served by Flybe. The restart of this iconic brand, which was once Europe’s largest regional airline, will provide a potentially significant boost to aviation jobs, regional connectivity, and local economies.” 

Before its collapse, Cyrus Capital owned 40% of the airline with Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group each holding 30%. The group took over control of the business in early 2019 and invested a reported £100m to keep it afloat. 

A Thyme Opco spokesperson added: “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to relaunch Flybe. The airline is not only a well-known UK brand, it was also the largest regional air carrier in the EU, so while we plan to start off smaller than before, we expect to create valuable airline industry jobs, restore essential regional connectivity in the UK, and contribute to the recovery of a vital part of the country’s economy.” 

The carrier entered administration on March 5, citing significant disruption to the airline industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for its collapse. 

The Exeter-based airline carried around 8 million passengers a year between 81 airports across the UK and the rest of Europe before its demise.