Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has collapsed into administration with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs, less than two months after the government announced a rescue deal, The Guardian reports.
The impact of the coronavirus on flight bookings proved the last straw for the Exeter-based airline, which operates almost 40% of UK domestic flights, as the government stalled on a controversial £100m loan.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced early on Thursday, March 5 morning that the airline had entered administration.
It said all flights were cancelled and urged passengers not to go to airports.
Flybe passengers and staff are being offered free travel by all First Rail train operators, which consist of Great Western Railway, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express and Avanti West Coast. EasyJet has offered rescue fares for passengers and free flights to Flybe staff to get home.
Flybe’s bankruptcy has come only a week before a budget that it hoped would help bolster its precarious finances, after the previous chancellor said he would look again at levels of air passenger duty (APD) .
However, the airline’s owners Connect Airways – a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and the hedge fund Cyrus Capital – have pulled the plug, a little over a year after buying it.