Pilots union Balpa is urging the government to make the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme applicable to ex-Flybe staff.

Flybe entered into administration on March 5 after failing to secure a £100 million government loan. Ex-employees are reported to have been in contact with administrators Ernst & Young querying whether the business support schemes put in place by chancellor Rishi Sunak could be applicable to them.

Balpa’s general secretary Brian Strutton has written to Treasury ministers asking them to step in and support the staff who were made redundant “overnight with no notice and no consultation”.

Last month Sunak told businesses the state would cover up to £2,5000 a month of salaries for firms to furlough staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

A letter to ex Flybe employees from Ernst & Young, published on the Balpa website, highlights why they are unable to benefit from the Job Retention Scheme.

The letter states: “Given Flybe Limited, your employer is in administration, is insolvent, and as a result curtailed its operations, it does not have the financial resources left in the business to fund the costs of implementing and operating the Job Retention Scheme.

“We understand that this is a difficult time for all Flybe employees and ex-employees and we aim to support as best as possible whilst carrying out our legal duty as Administrators.”

Strutton said: “Insult to injury springs to mind. Loyal and dedicated Flybe pilots and other staff were all made redundant overnight with no notice and no consultation.

“If the administrators can’t help, then the government should step in as a matter of fairness.

“I have today written to Treasury ministers asking them to do so.”

The Exeter-based airline employed more than 2,000 staff.

Flybe served 15 countries from 80 airports and operated more UK domestic flights than any other carrier. It had a presence at airports such as Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester and Southampton.