Flybe collapses putting over 2,000 jobs at risk


It was announced in the early hours of this morning that Flybe has entered into administration putting thousands of jobs at risk.

14 key routes at Belfast City Airport have been affected as the airline ceased trading stranding many passengers and crew at destinations in Europe.

In a letter to staff, Flybe boss Mark Anderson blamed the outbreak of Coronavirus for a decline in recent bookings forcing the airline to appoint administrators EY.

Belfast City Airport reports “negotiations with a number of carriers are already underway” to seek alternative airlines to cover the substantial gap left by Flybe.

Airport chief executive, Brian Ambrose, said: “The airline was a significant economic driver for the region, carrying 1.6m passengers to and from Belfast in 2019.

“I am confident that these well-established routes, coupled with our city centre location, and recent £15m investment in terminal facilities, will prove an attractive option to airlines.”

The regional airline reported difficulties in January but was saved from administration by the promise of a cash injection from new owners.

It was hoped that this would be further subsidised by a £100m loan from the government.

However, public anxiety around Coronavirus has had an effect on the industry putting “additional pressure on an already difficult situation”.

In response to the collapse of the Essex-based airline, a spokesperson from the UK government said: “Flybe’s financial difficulties were longstanding and well documented and pre-date the outbreak of COVID-19.”

“We are working closely with industry to minimise any disruption to routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not already covered by other airlines can be re-established by the industry.

“Through the reviews of regional connectivity and Airport Passenger Duty we have announced, we will bring forward recommendations to help ensure that the whole of the UK has the connections in place that people rely on. “

Belfast is among the top three airports in the UK to be affected by the airline’s collapse as 80 per cent of the airport’s routes were operated by Flybe.

Retail NI, chief executive, Glyn Roberts believes a solution will be found for the lost routes despite the collapse being “bad news for Northern Ireland’s air connectivity and our economy in the short term.”

“Belfast City Airport is a crucial part of our transport infrastructure and is vital to the future of our local economy,” he said.

“Tourists and business travellers who use Belfast City Airport are important customers for our retail sector in Belfast City centre and across Northern Ireland.

“We need to see government at all levels supporting the City Airport during these challenging times as they engage with new carriers and address the issue of APD. I have no doubt that the airport will come through this difficulty and go from strength to strength,” Glyn added.



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