Flybmi failure should be ‘wake-up call’ for government

Flybmi’s failure on Saturday left hundreds of passengers without flights, triggering fresh calls for airline-failure protection.

The carrier called in administrators, blaming uncertainty about Brexit. However, parent company Airline Investments continues to operate, as does its Glasgow-based subsidiary Loganair, which is looking to take over Flybmi routes including the subsidised Derry-Stansted service.

Alan Bowen, legal advisor to the Association of Atol Companies, said: “The problem was Flybmi didn’t have any customers. We need the airline insolvency review set up after the Monarch collapse to look into protection.”

Advantage Travel Partnership chief executive Julia Lo Bue‑Said, asked: “Why is consumer financial protection not extended to airlines? Perhaps Flybmi will provide a wake-up call for the government.”

The Airline Insolvency Review is due to report shortly.

The European Regions Airline Association demanded “an EU-UK aviation agreement to prevent further serious harm” saying:
“The challenges posed by Brexit are insurmountable.”

Flybmi operated from its East Midlands base and from Aberdeen, Bristol and Newcastle with 17 jets seating up to 49 passengers.

It carried 520,000 mainly corporate customers last year and employed 376 staff.

Formerly known as BMI Regional, the airline was acquired by Lufthansa in 2009, bought by International Airlines Group and sold on to Sector Aviation Holdings in 2012 and bought by Airline Investments in 2015.

Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: “We’re evaluating Flybmi’s wider network.” He insisted the failure “has no impact on Loganair’s continued operation”.

There was confusion among consumers about whether the much larger Flybe had ceased flying. Flybe, the subject of a takeover by a consortium including Virgin Atlantic, issued a statement saying: “Flybe has nothing to do with Flybmi. Our flights continue to operate as normal.”

More: Flybmi collapses in face of Brexit uncertainty and soaring fuel costs

Loganair takes over collapsed flybmi Aberdeen and Newcastle services

Which? warns of industry ‘instability’ following flybmi failure

Norwich-Aberdeen flights continue despite flybmi failure

Almost 400 jobs lost with collapse of flybmi

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