Flybe has entered into administration after failing to secure a £100 million government loan.
All flights are now cancelled and customers have been told not to travel to airports.
Ernst & Young have been appointed joint administrators
The Civil Aviation Authority’s chief executive Richard Moriarty said it was a “sad day for UK aviation”.
Reports emerged on Wednesday that the troubled carrier was close to falling into administration as the coronavirus outbreak hit bookings.
The airline had previously requested a £100 million state loan and was also hoping that the government would consider a cut in Air Passenger Duty in next week’s budget.
A review of 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. However, doubts had been cast on the likelihood of a reduction following the appointment of new chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Flybe, which was due to be rebranded Virgin Connect, was owned by three shareholders – Virgin Atlantic with 30%, Southend airport owner Stobart Group with 30% and 40% held by Cyrus Capital Partners.
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 with a presence at airports such as Aberdeen, Belfast City, Manchester and Southampton.
The CAA confirmed the regional carrier had entered into administration at around 3.30am on Thursday.
It urged customers to make their own alternative travel arrangements via other airlines, rail or coach operators.
For flights operated by Flybe franchise partners, Eastern Airways, and Blue Islands, passengers should make contact with the individual airline to confirm travel arrangements.
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.
“We urge passengers planning to fly with this airline not to go to the airport as all Flybe flights are cancelled. For the latest advice, Flybe customers should visit the CAA website or the CAA’s Twitter feed for more information.
“Flybe also operated a number of codeshare partnerships with international airlines. If you have an international ticket you should make contact with that airline to confirm your travel arrangements.”
Pilot union Balpa said staff would feel “disgusted” at Flybe’s owners and the government.
General secretary Brian Strutton said: “A year ago Flybe was taken over by new owners with promises of funding for a bright future.
“Six weeks ago, when the ownership consortium lost confidence the Government promised a rescue package, apparently at that time recognising the value of Flybe to the regional economy of the UK.
“Throughout, pilots, cabin crew and ground staff have done their jobs brilliantly, while behind the scenes the owners and, sadly, government connived to walk away.
“Flybe staff will feel disgusted at this betrayal and these broken promises.
“What happened to shareholders’ promises of a bright future as “Virgin Connect”?
“What happened to the government rescue deal?
“It’s frankly sickening that other airlines have gone out of their way to push Flybe over the brink, putting 2,000 people out of work. How are staff going to find new jobs in the current climate?
“BALPA will be supporting the pilots in coming to terms with this situation and helping them with their rights and entitlements as well as training them for alternative jobs.”
The CAA has issued the following advice to customers:
Booked flight with credit or debit card
If you booked directly with Flybe and paid by credit card you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and should contact your card issuer for further information. Similarly, if you paid by debit or charge card you should contact your card issuer for advice as you may be able to make a claim under their charge back rules.
If you purchased travel insurance that includes cover for scheduled airline failure, known as SAFI, you should contact your insurer. If you did not book directly with Flybe and purchased your tickets through a third party, you should contact your booking or travel agent in the first instance.
Negative response letter
Passengers who booked directly with the company via either a credit, charge or debit card may alternatively be able to make a claim through their card provider. Some card providers will ask for a negative response letter confirming the position. Passengers may also be able to make a claim against their travel insurer. (This letter will be published on this page shortly)
Direct booking with an airline
If you paid the airline directly by credit card you might be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You should check with your card issuer for further advice. You may have similar cover if you paid by Visa debit card and should check with your bank.
Booked through an Airline Ticket Agent
If you booked your ticket through an airline ticket agent you should speak to the agent in the first instance; they may have provided travel insurance that includes Scheduled Airline Failure cover.
Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI)
Some airlines and airline ticket agents will offer customers either a specific Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) policy or include similar protection within a broader travel insurance product. The type of protection provided may vary depending on the type of policy taken out. A policy may simply cover the cost of the original tickets purchased or any unused portion, or the additional cost of purchasing new flights, such as new tickets for travel back to the UK.
Booked with an ATOL holder (Package Holiday)
If you have booked a trip that includes flights and hotels with a travel firm that holds an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and received confirmation that you are ATOL protected, the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either make alternative flights available for you so that your trip can continue or provide a full refund. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. Contact the ATOL travel firm for more information.
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