Flybe Collapses, Blaming Coronavirus and the Government

By Gary Cutlack on at

Budget airline Flybe has collapsed and with finality, as the company has called in the administrators, cancelled all flights, and entirely called it a day for operating as a regional airline. It has had it with you and your continued flouting of hand luggage regulations.

The announcement was made very early this morning, so many fliers booked to go places today did not get the message and are arriving for their flights. At least they get a small day out to Exeter Airport. They can have a coffee and go home again. The Civil Aviation Authority isn't able to help much either, as its main bit of advice is to try to claim a refund from your card company if you paid for a flight with a credit or debit card, plus there's the usual nightmarish mess to unravel for people on package deals that require the seller to cover rebookings under the ATOL protection scheme.

Less fortunate are the airline's 2,300 or so staff, who are presumably stuffed. The airline's chief executive Mark Anderson said: "Europe's largest independent regional airline has been unable to overcome significant funding challenges to its business. This has been compounded by the outbreak of coronavirus which in the last few days has resulted in a significant impact on demand."

The "funding challenges" include burning through £100m allocated to the business when it was taken over by a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic last year, which was supposed to see Flybe rebranded as Virgin Connect this year. As for the government's implication, Flybe's unhappy that changes to Air Passenger Duty – which could've reduced short haul flight costs had the £13 fee been removed or cut – were coming too slowly to save the day. [Flybe]