UK Regional Carrier Flybe in Trouble, by Travel Radar Correspondent David Hopwood
Just a year after being rescued, Flybe is in dire straits again. The carrier is reported to be in emergency negotiations to secure additional funding and is locked in survival talks with the British government.
Neither the airline not the government would comment on the discussions. The airline is owned by the Connect Airways consortium which includes Virgin Atlantic, the Stobart Group and a US hedge fund, Cyrus Capital and employs around 2000 people.
The accountancy form EY is on standby to deal with the possible administration of the Flybe Group.
Flybe began operations in 1979 as Jersey European Airways, became British European in 2000 and changed its name to Flybe in 2002.
The airline is based in Exeter in Devon and has almost 200 routes in the United Kingdom and Europe, operating the bulk of domestic routes that bypass London with frequent links between smaller airports in Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland as well as destinations in nearby Europe including Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin. It flies roughly 2500 flight a week across its network, amounting to four million seats, carrying about eight million passengers.
Well known for its purple livery, Flybe operates 72 aircraft, the majority being the Dash 8 Q400, with eight on order. It has also operated leased Embraer E-195 and E-175s but was due to return these to concentrate on the Q400. Typical of a low-cost carrier, the cabins are single class.
The difficulties for Flybe come shortly after the collapse of Thomas Cook in September last year with the loss of 9000 jobs, although a number of employees-including those from Thomas Cook Airlines-have since been re-employed.
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