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With the Overnight Collapse of Flybe, UK Carriers Scramble to Pick up Routes, Launch Rescue Flights

Struggling British regional carrier Flybe collapsed overnight, leaving competitors scrambling to launch rescue flights and pick up routes to ensure vital connectivity. Scottish regional carrier Loganair will pick up 16 Flybe routes from March 16, 2020.

Flybe Bombardier Q400 - Courtesy Flybe

On Thursday (March 5, 2020) financially struggling British regional carrier Flybe entered Administration, the UK equivalency of bankruptcy. With the collapse of Europe’s largest regional carrier, competitors are stepping in to fill the void with emergency “rescue” fares as well as announcements that they will pickup essential regional routes formerly operated by the beleaguered carrier. Ryanair announced Thursday that they will be offering rescue fares starting from £19.99 on five UK routes to accommodate customers affected by the Flybe collapse. The low fares will be available until Sunday, March 8, 2020, for travel through the end of April. In Thursday’s announcement, Ryanair’s Alejandra Ruiz said in part,

Ryanair Offers "Rescue Fares" on Five UK Routes - Courtesy Ryanair

“Flybe customers can continue to enjoy the lowest fares and most reliable service by switching to Ryanair, and we’ve released rescue fares to assist customers affected by Flybe ceasing operations. We are working with the CAA to accommodate passengers who may have been left stranded or have had their travel plans disrupted by the collapse of the airline. We again call for more robust and frequent stress tests on financially weak airlines and tour operators, so customers are not the ones who suffer.”

The Flybe/Virgin Connect website displayed a message Thursday explaining that the carrier had entered Administration, with a message for customers that said in part,

“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.”

Scottish regional carrier Loganair further announced on Thursday that they will safeguard regional connectivity by taking up to 16 routes formerly operated by Flybe. Loganair will add around 400 new weekly flights from March 16, 2020 and has also opened a special recruitment line for former Flybe employees wishing to continue their aviation careers. The new routes will be operated from Loganair’s existing bases in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle. While flights will commence on March 16, the routes will be launched progressively over a four month period. In Thursday’s announcement, Loganair’s Chief executive, Jonathan Hinkles said,

Loganair to Operate 16 Former Flybe Routes - Courtesy Loganair

“The collapse of a long-standing airline like Flybe marks a desperately sad day, especially for the airline’s dedicated team of employees and for customers facing disruption to their journeys. By stepping in quickly with a comprehensive plan, Loganair is aiming to maintain essential air connectivity within the UK regions to keep customers flying, and to offer new employment to former Flybe staff members who are facing an uncertain future today.”

With the addition of 16 former Flybe routes, Loganair will now be the fourth largest UK airline by volume of flights. The carrier will add additional 70-seat ATR 72 turboprops to service the new routes along with their existing fleet of 44 turboprops and Embraer Regional Jets. Speaking on Loganair’s expansion, Mr. Hinkles added,

“The Plan represents the outcome of several weeks of behind-the-scenes contingency planning work, during which we’ve evaluated many routes and aircraft. It’s critical to the continued success of our own airline that we refrain from over-expansion, and that our growth can be delivered within our operational and financial means. I am confident that the plans being announced today are robust and sustainable, enabling former Flybe customers to benefit from Loganair’s high standards of customer service and on-time performance on a range of new routes, with a strong emphasis on those to and from our Scottish heartlands.”

Source(s): Flybe, Ryanair, Loganair


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