Flybe is on the brink of collapse, reports say

Airline flies from Belfast City, Cork, Dublin and Knock to regional airports in Britain

File photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP

File photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP

 

Fears are growing for some flights to Britain from several Irish airports following reports that regional carrier Flybe is on the brink of collapse.

Reports said that the British airline was seeking emergency cash from the UK government to help it stay in business.

Flybe flies from Belfast City, Cork, Dublin and Knock to regional airports in England, Scotland and Wales.

Belfast City would be hardest hit should financial problems ground Flybe. The airline operates 14 services from there to destinations such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester, and Glasgow, along with other regional centres.

The airline’s collapse would also hit Knock airport in Co Mayo, from where Flybe flies to Birmingham, East Midlands and Manchester.

Flybe offers flights to Cardiff, Exeter and Southampton from Dublin and it serves Cardiff from Cork.

Irish airline Stobart, part of the Connect Airways group along with Flybe, operates services from Southend airport to the Isle of Man and destinations in France for the troubled UK carrier. Stobart did not comment on reports of Flybe’s financial woes on Monday.

Flybe itself said that it did not comment on “rumour or speculation”. The airline noted that it continued to provide services and that its passengers could travel as planned.

Flybe had been bought by Connect Airways, a consortium created by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and investment adviser Cyrus Capital, last year.

Sky News said Flybe, which connects British regional airports with Irish and European destinations, was on the brink of collapse due to mounting losses and as Connect’s financing requirements had become more onerous.

Should Flybe collapse, it would be the second high-profile failure in Britain’s airline and travel industry in less than six months.

Travel agent and airline Thomas Cook went into liquidation last September, leaving thousands of holidaymakers stranded.

Sky News said the UK’s department of transport was considering whether the government could provide any emergency financing for the company.

The department declined to comment. “We do not comment on speculation or the financial affairs of private companies,” a spokesman said.

European airlines are grappling with falling air fares, rising costs and increased competition. Additional reporting – Reuters