Flybe has declined to comment on reports that it is on the brink of collapse due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying they are ‘speculation’.
Sky News said this afternoon that the regional airline “could collapse in days amid an outbreak-related slump in bookings”.
A report by ITV claimed Flybe has told the government that the situation is “urgent” and that it requires a decision on a £100 million state loan “in the coming days”.
Earlier today, the Financial Times said that the domestic airline is “unlikely” to secure that loan, reportedly because the request has not met certain criteria set by the government.
The FT added the airline bosses are hoping that a cut in Air Passenger Duty will be announced in next week’s Budget (March 11) to help the carrier to survive.
However, a source told Sky News that the chances of Flybe surviving until next Wednesday’s Budget (March 11) looked “more remote”.
Last month, there were reports that Mark Anderson, the chief executive of Flybe’s parent firm Connect Airways, had called for cuts to APD, warning that regional routes could be abandoned if the carrier collapses.
Anderson told the new business secretary, Alok Sharma, about Flybe’s “crucial role” in ensuring regional connectivity across the UK.
There were concerns that an overhaul of APD – agreed as part of a rescue deal for Flybe –could be abandoned under new chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Cutting APD was part of the rescue deal agreed with ministers in January when the regional airline came close to appointing administrators after running low on cash.
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