Flybmi airline blames ‘Brexit uncertainty’ as it cancels operations and files for administration

Thousands of passengers left stranded or with worthless bookings

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Saturday 16 February 2019 20:21 GMT
Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay: UK is readying businesses for no-deal scerario

Flybmi has become the latest airline casualty, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and many more with now-worthless advance reservations.

The loss-making carrier, based at East Midlands airport, said that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration.

A spokesperson for Flybmi said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement today. The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs.

“These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe.

“Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.”

Its larger rival, Flybe, was last month rescued by a consortium involving Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and a US hedge fund.

The Flybmi spokesperson added: “Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40 million in the last six years.

“We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable.

“Our employees have worked extremely hard over the last few years and we would like to thank them for their dedication to the company, as well as all our loyal customers who have flown with us over the last six years.”

Flybmi operated 17 small regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities, and employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), said: “The collapse of flybmi is devastating news for all employees.

“Regrettably BALPA had no warning or any information from the company at all. Our immediate steps will be to support flybmi pilots and explore with the Directors and administrators whether their jobs can be saved.”

Passengers have been told: “All flights have been cancelled with effect from today. Customers who booked directly with flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place.

“Customers who have booked flybmi flights via a travel agent or one of flybmi’s codeshare partner airlines are recommended to contact their agent or airline for details of options available to them.

“Customers who have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they are eligible to claim for cancelled flights and the procedure for doing so.”

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