Tuesday, 18 February, 2020

Flybe seeking rescue deal to avoid collapse

Flybe Q400 Flybe represents over 2,000 jobs
Ginger Lawrence | 14 January, 2020, 11:10

It flies to 14 United Kingdom destinations from Belfast City, more than any other airline and makes up 90% of all flights from the airport.

Last February, the airline was bought by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic following poor financial results.

Citing unnamed airline insiders, Sky News suggested that the financing requirements of that deal had become "more onerous", leaving Flybe on the brink of collapse.

The plan is said to involve Flybe deferring this year's estimated air passenger duty (APD) bill of £106 million for three years, giving it the chance to survive the tough winter trading conditions.

Most Flybe passengers are understood to not be protected by the Atol travel industry compensation scheme, because they did not book their flights as part of a package holiday.

Graham Stringer, Labour MP and a former member of the commons Transport Committee, said: 'These routes that Flybe operate are absolutely vital for a number of communities that are remote from the rest of the United Kingdom like the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and parts of the South West.

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"We don't comment on rumour or speculation", the airliner noted.

The airline is Europe's largest regional carrier, flying around nine million passengers a year to 170 destinations across the continent.

The collapse would put the jobs of thousands of Flybe staff at risk, many in key northern constituencies including Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Both Flybe and the government have thus far declined to comment. According to reports the airline could have collapsed over the weekend which would have been devastating news.

BALPA, the British Airline Pilot Union, has urged the United Kingdom government to do "whatever it takes" to ensure Flybe's survival. This is an appalling state of affairs and we demand that the owners of Flybe - Virgin, Stobart and Cyrus - and the Government departments involved stop hiding and talk to us about Flybe. "The last thing we need is an airline to go under - especially one which provides a vital public service in some parts of the country", Ms Houghton added.