London — Struggling UK regional airline Flybe collapsed for the second time in three years on Saturday, putting jobs on the line and stranding passengers.
The airline initially slipped into bankruptcy in March 2020, shedding 2,400 jobs as coronavirus restrictions decimated the travel industry. It relaunched in April last year, flying many of the same routes from Belfast, Birmingham and London Heathrow.
In a statement, the grounded flyer said it had again called in bankruptcy accountants and warned passengers not to travel to the airport as all flights were now cancelled, including international routes to Switzerland and the Netherlands.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority said passengers should “arrange their own alternative travel via other airlines, rail or coach operators”, leaving customers with long and potentially expensive journeys home.
CAA consumer director Paul Smith said: “It is always sad to see an airline enter administration and we know Flybe’s decision to cease trading will be distressing for all staff and customers.”
Flybe returned to the skies less than 12 months ago with plans to operate 530 flights per week on 23 routes. Its business and assets were purchased in April 2021 by Thyme Opco, which is linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital.
The UK government said its immediate priority would be to support those trying to get home and those who have lost their jobs.
“This is a challenging environment for airlines, old and new, as they recover from the pandemic and we understand the impact this will have on Flybe’s passengers and employees,” it said.
“The Civil Aviation Authority is advising passengers to make their journey as smooth and affordable as possible.
It added that most of Flybe’s destinations were in the UK, so alternative means of transport were available.