04 March, 2020

Flybe on the verge of collapse

There is a fresh crisis looming for the struggling regional airline, Flybe as it appears the £100 million loan from the government will not be authorised and future bookings have slowed dramatically over the last few weeks due to the ongoing Coronavius COVID-19 situation.

Many believe the carrier is on the verge of collapse this evening.  This evening mechanics at its Exeter base have been arriving at the hangers and collection their tools and toolboxes to take home.  Ordered not to talk to the media, many had no idea if the airline will still be flying tomorrow, let alone next week. 

The UK's main business paper, The Financial Times, has reported that the government bailout loan of £100 million has been refused and the airline thinks it has enough cash to last only until the end of the month.  Included as part of the hastily arranged rescue deal was a deferral by the government of tax the airline owes, a little more money from it airlines owners and a government review into Air Passenger Duty.  However,  it is unlikely that any review of the tax will happen until the UK has passed through the transition period from leaving the European Union.

According to various sources, the airline has found the rate of new bookings has slowed dramatically due to the coronavirus outbreak, a situation that has affected many other airlines.  Ryanair, Delta, American, Finnair, easyJet, Qatar Airways, British Airways are just some of the many carriers that have axed flights, amended scheduled and reduced capacity.

Flybe, has been connecting passengers across the UK and Europe for 40 years under its own name and its previous incarnations and was poised to transform into Virgin Connect in a few months, to reflect part of its new ownership.

It is being reported that Virgin Atlantic decided not to put any further funding into Flybe earlier this week, which if true would clearly be the end of operational business for one of the Europes biggest regional carriers.


This article has been updated here. 

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