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Friday 6 March 2020

Thousands of jobs gone as airline goes under

Flybe, the ailing British airline that was denied a British Government bailout, has gone into administration.

The airline's final flights touched down at UK airports late on Wednesday evening.

The Virgin-led consortium that was set up to take over Flybe said a drop in bookings because of coronavirus meant the airline was no longer viable.

The airline was reportedly taking bookings right up until going into adminstration, leaving would-be passengers stranded.

The GMB union warned that, in addition to Flybe's 2,400 staff, the collapse threatened 1,400 jobs in the supply chain and put the future of regional airports at risk.

A message on the airline's website said Flybe had ceased trading in the early hours of Thursday, March 5, with Ernst and Young appointed administrators.

Customers were told not to travel to airports while employees and creditors have been directed to contact the administrators.

The Civil Aviatio
n Authority said all Flybe flights, and those operated by Stobart Air, had been cancelled and told passengers to 'make alternative travel arrangements". 

CAA chief executive 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.

The airline was acquired a year ago by a consortium headed by Virgin Atlantic, which also included Stobart Group and hedge fund Cyrus Capital.

Unions expressed anger that the Government did not step in to save Flybe.

British Aviation Minister Kelly Tolhurst said the Government had 'done all it could' for the failing airline, saying: "Flybe outlined what the problems with their business had been. The directors decided it was not viable to keep Flybe operating.

"It's not the role of government to prop them up."

Flybe was one of Europe's biggest regional airlines, flying to up to 56 European airports, but was also responsible for the majority of UK domestic flights outside London. 

Founded in 1979 and previously known as Jersey European and British European, Flybe flew eight million passengers a year.

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