The future of Europe’s largest regional airline Flybe appears uncertain as reports suggest the airline is facing collapse.
Sky News has reported that Flybe has been trying to secure additional financing to stave off a potential collapse.
This news comes a year after the carrier was brought by Connect Airways, a consortium including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group. On the purchase of the airline, Connect Airways announced it would make a bridge loan facility available to support Flybe’s ongoing operations with further investment to support growth for the regional carrier that is set to be rebranded this year under the name ‘Virgin Connect’.
The airline has previously struggled under industry challenges. The airline launched a sale process in 2018 with the then-CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener pointing to high fuel costs, currency fluctuations and Brexit uncertainties as having a significant impact.
The Sky News report suggested the accountancy firm EY has been “put on standby” while the government is reportedly assessing whether it could help.
The airline has not commented on the reports, instead tweeting: “Flybe continues to focus on providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned. We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.”
Flybe continues to provide great service and connectivity for our customers while ensuring they can continue to travel as planned. We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.
— Flybe ? (@flybe) January 12, 2020
Cardiff Airport shared a comment from Spencer Birns, Chief Commercial Officer on twitter: “Flybe operations into and out of Cardiff are operating as normal – we understand that there are no disruptions to scheduled services across any of their UK network. Our customers are our primary focus, we will endeavour to keep them fully updated.”
The airline announced the first phase of its 2020 Summer schedule in November featuring 104 routes including seven new routes – six from London Southend and one between Manchester and Stuttgart.
Last week local media Devon Live reported that Flybe could “potentially” be making redundancies at its headquarters in Exeter through a restructuring as part of the rebranding to Virgin Connect, with reports suggesting the job losses would be in support and management positions.
The airline is the largest independent airline in Europe, carrying 8 million passengers a year between 71 airports across the UK and Europe and also flying from more UK airports than “any other airline.”