Flybe, the regional airline, will wind up its business after rescue talks fell through, its joint administrators said yesterday, a month after the company cancelled flights and entered insolvency proceedings for the second time in three years.
The company has struggled since its relaunch in April last year, despite other low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet reporting record summer bookings as demand for travel heads back to pre-pandemic levels, even as inflation squeezes disposable incomes.
“It was clear from the outset that there were only a limited number of parties who had the necessary strategic fit and who could navigate the complexities of such a transaction to get a [rescue] deal over the line,” said David Pike, managing director of Interpath and joint administrator of Flybe.
The pandemic pushed Flybe into administration for the first time in March 2020, affecting 2,400 jobs. The airline was sold to Thyme Opco, a company controlled by Cyrus Capital, in October of the same year, before the launch of a slimmed-down operation the following spring.
After administrators were appointed again in late January 2023, Flybe made 276 workers redundant.
Flybe, which was rescued in 2020 by hedge fund manager Lucien Farrell’s Cyrus Capital Partners, collapsed suddenly last month, suggesting that a business model based on flying 70-seater aircraft between Britain’s provincial airports was no longer viable.
Pike, who is working at Flybe with Mike Pink, also of Interpath, has pointed to a number of shocks since the airline’s relaunch, not least the late delivery of 17 aircraft from lessors.
Flybe said a further 25 jobs would now be affected.