The collapse of Flybe, the largest regional airline in Europe, another airline, marks another casualty in the airline administration wars. Flybe is the second major British airline to collapse in six months, following Thomas Cook last September.
The UK’s CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) announced that the airline had went into administration early morning on the 05/03/2020.
It was public knowledge that the airline had some financial difficulties, but after a government deal was proposed less than two month ago things were looking positive. However, this loan fell through after the government stalled on their side of the deal, and it’s estimated that over 2,000 jobs will be lost across the airline.
Was Coronavirus a factor?
Many news reports have named Coronavirus as a contributing factor to the airline’s decline. However, it’s not accurate to place the bulk of the blame here – perhaps more at to describe the COVID-19 fallout as the ‘straw that broke the donkey’s back’, the final straw for Flybe after a host of other issues affecting their operations.
It’s true that the virus has had a big impact on airlines in recent weeks, with hundreds of flights being cancelled. But the facts remain that Flybe was already struggling financially, in part due to rising fuel costs, before the outbreak of the virus.
The collapse was also due to a lessening demand for flights – chiefly due to competition. The Flight Shaming movement also has its part to play in this, as it’s something that is affecting all airlines to some extent – some more than others.
The added pressure of the outbreak on the travel industry was not the sole cause of Flybe’s collapse, but made the airline’s precarious financial situation worse.
The Collapse of Flybe
The situation echoed the events of the Thomas Cook collapse last year with crew on some route’s being informed mid-duty of Flybe’s fate.
Passengers on the Thursday service from Manchester to Exeter (which was one of a number of last-minute delays or cancellations) had nothing but praise for the crew, who reportedly carried on “as their lives unfolded” in front of a plane full of passengers.
Passenger Sue Wilkins from Cornwall had boarded, and sat through the safety briefing when the pilot came through to announce the news.
“An air hostess then started to give the opening safety brief, and obviously doors were closed, steps removed, when the pilot called through and spoke with her. He then came out into the plane from the cockpit to explain they had just heard we were not flying.”
The aircraft did depart on what was the last official Flybe flight, and crew were praised throughout for their professionalism,
Other airlines and transport companies rallied to help stranded passengers and crew, with easyJet offering free travel for Flybe staff on Thursday and Friday, and rail operators Avanti and the Caledonian Sleeper allowing Flybe ticket holders and staff to travel for free yesterday.
What does this mean for Flybe Crew?
It’s likely that other airlines will step in to help recruit ex-Flybe crew where they can, as with the ex Thomas Cook crew last September. However the Coronavirus issue will affect this to an extent.
Scottish regional airline Loganair is to take on 16 routes previously flown by Flybe, and take on some of its staff – including Cabin Crew. The link for more information (for ex-Flybe crew only) can be found on their careers page.
We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments, and any other opportunities for ex Flybe crew here, and on our Facebook page!