Well, this isn’t what I had planned on writing when I came up with this article about FlyBe.
Initially it was to be a farewell to the FlyBe brand as it made way for the Virgin Connect brand.
However, as I’m sure you’ve now seen, things didn’t work out quite as they had planned. Despite a bailout in January 2020, the airline was in such dire straits that this wasn’t enough to save the airline.
Flybe was purchased in July 2019 by Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and Cyrus Capital. However it appeared that they had realised they had bought a company that was beyond repair and seemed reluctant to pump any more money into a black hole.
It was announced late on 4th March 2020 that once the flying schedule had finished for the day, the company would cease trading.
Various airports around the UK had started the process of impounding the airlines aircraft throughout the evening.
By the morning of the 5th, the following statement had appeared on https://www.flybe.com
Flybe entered Administration on 5 March 2020 and Alan Hudson, Joanne Robinson, Lucy Winterborne and Simon Edel of EY have been appointed as Joint Administrators.
All flights have been grounded and the UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect.
If you are due to fly with Flybe, please DO NOT TRAVEL TO THE AIRPORT unless you have arranged an alternative flight with another airline. Please note that Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.
If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on a Flybe flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans.
Customers are also advised to monitor the Civil Aviation Authority website for further information (www.caa.co.uk).
In the event that you were an employee of the Company and you require any further information or assistance in relation to the Administration, please contact the Administrators on 0161 333 2596 or by email at [email protected].
Creditors and suppliers
In the event that you were a supplier or creditor of the Company and you require further details in relation to the Administration, please direct your enquiries to the Administrators’ office on 0207 951 7801 or by email at [email protected].
The History Of FlyBe
Whist the FlyBe name has only been around since 2002, the airline itself can trace its roots back to 1979. Founded as Jersey European, the airline had humble beginnings in the 1980’s before expanding in the 1990’s. In 1991 the airline introduced its first flight to London and by 1993 had introduced the BAE146 to the fleet. This enabled the airline to introduce a business class service on some routes.
By the year 2000, the airline had expanded throughout the UK. Therefore, the Jersey European name wasn’t particularly appropriate. In June of that year, the airline re-branded as British European. This name didnt last too long though. By 2002, the current name of FlyBe had been introduced and the airline had transitioned to a low cost carrier in order to better compete with the likes Ryanair, EasyJet and Go.
In late 2006, it was announced that FlyBe would purchase the regional division of British Airways. This led to the airline we know of today. By March 2007, FlyBe had become Europe’s largest regional carrier.
What Goes Up…
The upward spiral wasn’t to last however. By the 2010’s, following CEO and chairman Jim French’s retirement in 2013, the airline had lost its way. Within six weeks of the new CEO taking over, three of the top management team had their resignations requested.
As an outsider looking in, it seemed that the airline was completely lost. First of all, they announced that the entire Dash8Q400 fleet was to be retired due to unreliability. Therefore, an order for Embraer E175 aircraft was placed. However, the airline then reversed this decision. Many of the E175 aircraft orders were cancelled. Others were sent to the USA in return for more Q400 aircraft. Where as some did enter service with Flybe. The larger E195 aircraft have been in the process of leaving the airline for the past few years.
During this time, the airline also introduced a new purple livery. This was followed a couple of years later by yet another purple and white livery that only made it on to the one aircraft.
In 2017, Flybe started services from London Heathrow airport after acquiring the slots left by the demise of Virgin Atlantic Little Red. This was in addition to operating a number of flights from London City Airport. Yet in 2013, the airline announced that they would be pulling out of London Gatwick the following year due to high costs… except they didn’t quite pull out. The airline was essentially forced to operate a route between London and Newquay under a public service obligation. This arrangement lasted until April 2019 when the Newquay route was moved to London Heathrow.
Yet Another Failed Attempt At Shorthaul For Virgin
Over the years, Virgin Atlantic haven’t had the best run with operating short haul flights. But this is the first occasion such a venture has failed before it has even got off the ground.
In the past, the Virgin group has operated Virgin Express, Virgin Sun, Little Red and short haul flights under the Virgin Atlantic umbrella. All of which no longer exist.