Flybe, Europe’s biggest regional airline, was locked in survival talks on Sunday night less than a year after being bailed out by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium according to a Sky News report today.
Sky News exclusively revealed that Flybe, which handles over half of Britain’s domestic flights outside London, has been trying to secure additional financing amid mounting losses and that EY, the accountancy firm, has been put on standby to handle an administration of Flybe Group, according to aviation industry sources.
The airline, which was due to be renamed Virgin Connect in the coming months, announced back in July last year that ‘Connect Airways Limited (“Connect Airways”) has received merger control clearance from the European Commission for its acquisition of Flybe Limited (“Flybe”), Propius Holdings Ltd (“Propius”), and its investment in Stobart Air Unlimited Company (“Stobart Air”), securing Flybe’s long-term future and providing more choice for customers across the UK.’ and that ‘With Connect Airways taking over full management control of the business, Mark Anderson (CEO, Connect Airways) and with the leadership teams from Flybe and Stobart Air will now focus on plans to grow Flybe’s regional network, as well as expanding Stobart Air’s successful franchise business.’
Back in October it was announced that the airline would enter a “new era as an independent company under the Virgin brand”.
At the time Connect Airways CEO, Mark Anderson said: As part of the Virgin family, we now have a tremendously re-energised team. From here on in, we invite our customers, partners and the communities we serve to join us on every step of this exciting journey!”
However Sky News reported that ‘The government is understood to have been briefed on the crisis at Flybe in the last few days, with more than 2,000 jobs at risk if the company collapses and One source close to Flybe said on Sunday night that the Department for Transport and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had been working to determine whether the government could provide or facilitate any emergency financing to the company.
Flybe have remained tight-lipped however, with the only comment coming on their Twitter account :
Flybe continues to provide great service and connectivity for our customers while ensuring they can continue to travel as planned. We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.
— Flybe ✈ (@flybe) January 12, 2020