UK regional airports will suffer 'massive impact' from Flybe collapse experts warn

Exeter-based airline Flybe has gone into administration, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk, 400 of which are in Exeter.

The airline announced in the early hours of Thursday (5 March) it had ceased trading with immediate effect and that administrators had been appointed.

Crisis talks were held throughout Wednesday to try to secure a rescue package,but no deal was agreed.

  • There were emotional scenes as Flybe staff in Exeter left the airline's offices for the final time

The carrier narrowly avoided going bust in January but continued to lose money since then.

Airline sources suggest a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus "made a difficult situation worse" for Flybe.

Flybe was bought by a consortium of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital in February 2019, after running into earlier financial problems.

In a statement, chief executive Mark Anderson said the company had made "every possible attempt" to avoid collapse but had been "unable to overcome significant funding challenges".

What should passengers do?

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says any passengers expected to fly with Flybe should not travel to airports as all Flybe flights will be cancelled.

A spokesman from the Department for Transport said government staff would be on hand at all affected UK airports to assist Flybe passengers in making alternative arrangements.

The CAA are advising passengers to visit their website for all the latest updates.

Free rail offered to Flybe staff and passengers affected by the collapse

  • FirstGroup

The UK’s largest rail operator FirstGroup will offer a free ticket on its trains to all Flybe customers intending to travel today.

Customers will need to provide a boarding pass or other valid proof of booking for a flight today at the station ticket office where their journey begins.

FirstGroup says customers will be given a complimentary standard class ticket to their original flight destination.

Flybe employees should show staff ID to take up the same offer.

  • South Western Railway

SWR is offering free travel for customers who have booked flights with Flybe, as well as Flybe colleagues, for travel between 5 and Wednesday 11 March 2020 so they can make their planned journey.

Free travel will be available for Flybe customers and colleagues travelling between:

  • Exeter and London Waterloo

  • Southampton Airport Parkway and London Waterloo Poole

  • Portsmouth and London Waterloo

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted it was "very sad" Flybe had gone out of business after serving passengers for four decades.

He said the Government was "urgently working" with the airline industry to"identify how key routes can be re-established by other airlines as soon aspossible", and would be working with Flybe staff "to help them find new workin travel or other industries".

Exeter City Council have announced a jobs fair will be held in the city to support those affected by the collapse of Flybe.

It will be held on Tuesday [10 March] at Exeter Corn Exchange.

Those who are not former Flybe staff are also welcome to attend and can turn up on the day.

A number of big companies have already booked a place at the jobs fair with the local authority looking for more employers to come along to the event.

The council say they are keen to do everything possible for around 1,000 people who lost their jobs in Exeter after Flybe's collapse.

The jobs fair will run from10am until 2pm. Employers wanting to take part can register by going to the Eventbrite website.

  • The managing director for Exeter Airport Matt Roach says 'it will continue to work to fill the gap left by Flybe'.

Three routes from Exeter Airport which were operated by Flybe have been taken on by another airline.

Scottish firm Loganair will operate flights to Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh over the next few months.

The service to Edinburgh will be daily, excluding Wednesdays, and will cost £54.99 one-way from March 23.

Customers booked on Flybe services on the same routes will need to make new bookings at www.loganair.co.uk. Credit: PA Images

The Glasgow flight will cost the same price, running seven days a week from March 30.

A daily service to Newcastle will then launch from Exeter on July 6 also costing the same price.

Customers booked on Flybe services on the same routes will need to make new bookings at www.loganair.co.uk, and obtain a refund via their payment card provider for tickets booked with Flybe.

Loganair says it has no access to Flybe systems or customer data to be able to facilitate re-bookings.

Cornwall Airport Newquay Credit: Cornwall Airport Newquay

Cornwall Airport Newquay has announced that it has secured an alternative airline to operate the route between Edinburgh and Newquay.

The service will be operated twice weekly from June by Loganair.

The airport has also said that its in discussions with a number of airlines regarding other key routes, and are confident that operators for services including Manchester and the important London PSO connection will be found.

We were deeply saddened at the loss of Flybe for both their staff and passengers. On Wednesday night our priority was to alleviate the stress for those involved, and we taxied stranded Flybe crew members back to their homes in Exeter and Birmingham.

Richard Thomasson, Interim Airport Director

UK Civil Aviation Authority chief Richard Moriarty said: "This is a sad day for UK aviation and we know that Flybe's decision to stop trading will be very distressing for all of its employees and customers.

Something echoed by passengers on the final flight to Exeter last night.

Flybe 'set to go into administration overnight and cease operations immediately'

Sympathies pouring in for Flybe staff

Politicians from across the west country have been using social media to share their thoughts about the impact the collapse will have on staff.

In a statement the company's Chief Executive Mark Anderson said "Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entirenation."

I thank all our partners and the communities we have been privileged to serve. Above all I would like to thank the Flybe team for their incredible commitment and dedication.

Mark Anderson, Chief Executive, Flybe