Flybe grounded by second administration since 2020

02 February 2023 2 min. read
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UK airline Flybe has fallen into administration for the second time in three years. Professionals from Interpath Advisory are overseeing the process.

Amid the Covid-19 lockdown, Flybe was among the first airlines to go into administration in 2020. Once the largest independent regional airline in Europe, Flybe operated between 81 airports, and the news put around 2,400 jobs at risk at that time – and significant numbers of staff did lose their roles, though administrators from EY-Parthenon secured a sale to ‘save’ the airline. Flybe was sold to Thyme Opco, a firm controlled by Cyrus Capital, in 2021, and it resumed flight services in April 2022.

Less than one year on, however, Flybe has once again crashed into administration – with the carrier’s Twitter account announcing it has “ceased trading”, while advising travellers to not go to airports, as it would not be able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.

Flybe grounded by second administration since 2020

The High Court has since appointed David Pike and Mike Pink as joint administrators of Flybe. A spokesperson for administrators Interpath Advisory commented to Reuters that about 75,000 Flybe customers had future bookings, which would now not be honoured. Meanwhile, just 45 members of Flybe's remaining 321-strong workforce have been retained for the time being – leading the UK’s largest trade union, Unite, to criticise the government for failing to learn lessons from Flybe's first collapse.

The global aviation industry has been enduring one of the most difficult periods in its history in recent years. The number of airlines to have collapsed was already at its highest level since 2012, when the disappearance of international travel amid a protracted global health crisis pushed even more firms to the brink.

Even though demand for leisure travel has risen since then, business travel – where the industry enjoyed far greater margins – has not recovered, with many businesses having realised a majority of remote work can actually be done digitally. As airlines continue to struggle to bounce back from a hard three years, they may have to adapt their business models for life without one of their most lucrative service lines.