British airline Flybe, once Europe’s largest independent regional airline, canceled all flights on Saturday after falling into administration for a second time, marking what could be the final chapter for the chronically troubled company.
“We are saddened to announce that Flybe has been placed into administration,” the company said in a statement. declaration on their website in the early hours of Saturday morning. “Flybe has now stopped trading. All Flybe flights to and from the UK are canceled and will not be rescheduled.”
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Britain’s High Court appointed administrators to take over the company, according to the statement. The Department for Transport, which oversees aviation policy in the UK, also did not immediately respond.
Flybe, which at one point dominated the UK domestic market, only restarted in April 2022 after becoming one of the first large-scale corporate victims of the coronavirus outbreak. Like much of the global aviation industry, the airline was hit hard when travel plummeted and filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 with the loss of 2,400 jobs.
The airline was rescued last year by Thyme Opco, a company linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital. It offered service from Belfast, Ireland, Birmingham and Heathrow to airports throughout the UK and to Amsterdam and Geneva.
But the sudden news on Saturday that Flybe had pulled out again left passengers stranded, as the airline made it clear it would not be able to arrange alternative flights. About 2,500 passengers were scheduled to fly with the airline on Saturday, and around 75,000 passengers in total have now had their flights cancelled, according to figures confirmed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the country’s civil aviation regulator. The authority posted on their website a list of other airlines that offer special fares to Flybe customers.
“It’s always sad to see an airline go into administration and we know that Flybe’s decision to cease operations will be distressing for all its employees and customers,” Paul Smith, the authority’s consumer director, said in a statement. declaration.
By international standards, Britain has comparatively low usage of commercial domestic flights. In April, the UK government is set to introduce long-awaited cuts to taxes imposed on national airlines in a bid to improve domestic connectivity. The move, which has been welcomed by the industry, is part of the government’s “levelling” agenda, a policy that seeks to level the disparities between England’s economically disadvantaged north and its more prosperous south.
But the announcement of the tax cut in 2021, just days before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, was criticized at the time by environmental groups. some are now calling on Britain to enact a nationwide ban on short-haul flights similar to the one imposed by France last year. In April, France became the first country to ban flights between cities that are linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Great Britain also drew criticism from political rivals for their use of domestic flights to travel the country. “I travel to be as effective as possible on behalf of all of you,” replied Mr Sunak, as he addressed a local audience in the North West of England.