Flybe goes bankrupt after failed bailout

Flybe failed to secure £100million bailout from the government

UK airline Flybe has collapsed after months of talks with the government failed to secure a crucial £100m loan.

The coronavirus outbreak has also greatly impacted the Exeter based airline pushing it into bankruptcy in the early hours of Thursday morning and putting 2,000 jobs at risk.

Its website now advises customers to "not travel to the airport" unless they have arranged an alternative flight.

Flybe boss Mark Anderson said he was "very sorry" for the firm's collapse.

All flights operated by Flybe have been cancelled with immediate effect.

The airline was saved from administration last year by Connect Airways — a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Aviation and hedge fund Cyrus Capital. Connect had agreed to invest £30m into the airline to continue operations as part of the government’s rescue package.

Virgin Athlantic in the last 14 months had invested more than £135m to keep Flybe flying for an extra year.

In a letter to staff, chief executive Mark Anderson said: "Despite every effort, we now have no alternative - having failed to find a feasible solution to allow us to keep trading."

The UK government said it was ready to help Flybe's workers find new jobs and would work with other airlines to replace services.

"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. "

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said everyone was "very sad" about the news and that the government had tried to do everything they could at the end of last year.

"Unfortunately, with the situation that has developed with [coronavirus], an already weak company, I'm afraid, just hasn't been able to survive."

Flybe served around 170 destinations and was the principal airline at Southampton Airport, as well as having a major presence at airports in Aberdeen, Belfast City and Manchester.

Andy Macdonald, shadow transport secretary, said: “The collapse of Flybe is disastrous news for passengers and employees alike and will cause real anxiety in many regions throughout the country.”

"The government has to answer how those vital links will be maintained following Flybe's collapse. Communities will be concerned about what this will mean for their local economies and the Secretary of State has to come up with answers to these questions as a matter of urgency," he said.

Ryanair has launched "rescue" fares for March and April on five routes following Flybe's collapse. They include flights between Bournemouth and Dublin, Belfast and Stansted and Belfast and Manchester.

Train operators across Britain are also providing free travel to customers and Flybe staff who are unable to travel over the next week it has been reported.

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