Flybe, Alicante-Elche airport running as normal despite crisis talks

Flybe, Alicante-Elche airport running as normal despite crisis talks
Flybe, Alicante-Elche airport running as normal despite crisis talks

By Andrew Atkinson

Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline – serving nine countries from 85 european airports – including Alicante-Elche airport are running as normal, amidst reports that the airline are in survival talks.

“Flybe continues to focus on providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned,” said a spokesperson.

Flybe was rescued by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium of buyers – less than a year ago.

Flybe, who operate half of the UK’s domestic flights outside London, were reportedly attempting to secure additional financing amid rising losses.

Big Four auditor EY has reportedly been put on notice to handle an Administration process – putting over 2,000 jobs at risk.

Talks between the carrier and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) over the UK Government coming forward with new funding have taken place.

The Department for Transport refused to comment as Flybe flights continue as scheduled.

The news comes in the wake of Thomas Cook collapsing in September 2019.

A consortium, including Virgin Atlantic, Cyrus Capital and Stobart Group acquired Flybe’s assets in March, paying £2.8m for Flybe’s operations and another £2.2m for the parent company.

An additional £100m was reportedly set to be put into the airline’s business, to be re-named Virgin Connect.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss told City A.M. in October, that turning the struggling company around, and to keep Flybe flying, was still a priority.

Cyrus Capital reportedly own the largest share of a company, formed to handle the assets, called Connect Airways, with 40 per cent. The other partners own 30 per cent each.

The British Airline Pilots Association General secretary, Brian Strutton said: “I am appalled that the future of a major UK airline – and hundreds of jobs – is being discussed in secret, with no input from employees or their representatives.

“According to reports the airline could have collapsed over the weekend – which would have been devastating news.

“This is an appalling state of affairs and we demand that the owners of Flybe – Virgin, Stobart and Cyrus – and the government departments involved stop hiding and talk to us about Flybe.

“We have a right to be consulted. And staff have a right to know what is going on.”

Diana Holland, assistant general secretary at trade union Unite, said: “The speculation about Flybe’s future is deeply unhelpful and incredibly unsettling for the company’s loyal workforce.

“Unite is now seeking an urgent meeting with the company – to fully understand the challenges Flybe is facing.

“Unite is committed to helping ensure the future of the company and to preserve jobs.  This cannot be achieved, if the union is kept in the dark.

“It is essential that the government plays an active role in helping to ensure that Flybe continues to operate.

“It is not acceptable for the government simply to prepare for failure.

“The government must demonstrate that it has learnt the lessons from the collapse of Monarch – which it failed to apply – during the collapse of Thomas Cook.”