Flybe returns 20 months after airline collapse with Birmingham Airport as new headquarters

Flybe was pushed into administration in March 2020 Credit: PA

Collapsed airline Flybe has announced it will return to the skies early next year and its headquarters will be based in Birmingham.

It said it will serve "key regions across the UK and European Union", although specific routes have not been confirmed.

Flybe was pushed into administration on March 5, 2020 when the UK's biggest regional airline shut down overnight, with the loss of 2,400 jobs as the Covid-19 pandemic destroyed large parts of the travel market.

It was based in Exeter but had a major presence at several other UK airports such as Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester and Southampton, and flew the most UK domestic routes between airports outside London.

Flybe said the opening of its headquarters at Birmingham Airport is expected to create approximately 200 new jobs in the Birmingham and West Midlands region over the next three years.

The firm will now be based at Birmingham Credit: Jacob King/PA

Its business and assets were purchased in April 2021 by Thyme Opco - which is linked to US hedge fund Cyrus Capital - and has been renamed Flybe Limited.

Flybe's chief executive Dave Pflieger said Birmingham was "an ideal choice" for the airline.

He said: "We are thrilled to be partnering with Birmingham Airport (BHX), the City of Birmingham, and the Mayor of West Midlands to make BHX the location of our new headquarters and first crew base.

"It was an ideal choice for us due to its great people and highly skilled workforce, its central UK location, and the fact that Birmingham Airport is a global travel hub where local and connecting customers have access to over 150 worldwide destinations."

Mark Firth (Flybe), Nick Barton (Birmingham airport), Dave Pflieger (Flybe), Andy Street (mayor of West Midlands) and Cindy Lewis (Flybe). Credit: Flybe

Mr Pflieger added: "We plan to provide more information in the coming weeks and months about ticket prices, new routes and destinations, and other important news that will help customers visit loved ones, get away for a weekend, and get out on business trips."

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, said: "It really is such brilliant news that Flybe is coming back as a commercial airline, and even better that it has chosen Birmingham to house its new headquarters.

"Not only does this mean better domestic and international connectivity for our region as well as local jobs and opportunities being created here, but it’s yet another show of faith in the West Midlands with businesses choosing to commit to our region as we recover from the pandemic.

"Flybe’s choice highlights the strength of the aerospace sector in the West Midlands and the talent pool available, and I wish Dave and his team all the very best ahead of their official launch early next year."