Flybe trying to dismiss talk of its imminent collapse


Despite having been taken over by a consortium of businesses less than a year ago, Flybe, which handles over half of all U.K. domestic flights outside of London, is fighting for its survival, with wide speculation that the low-cost domestic carrier is about to fold.

When Virgin Atlantic Cyrus Capital and Stobart Group bought the struggling carrier last year for £2.8m for its operations and a further £2.2m for its parent company, the consortium promised to inject £100m into a turnaround plan. It was also intended to rebrand the carrier as Virgin Connect this year. While Flybe’s chief executive has requested that staff do not publicly disclose any details about the carrier’s finances, Mark Anderson has also written to all 2,400 staff advising them that it is business as usual, warning them of “unhelpful and unproductive speculation”.

Despite Thomas Cook failing to obtain assistance from the U.K. government, Flybe is looking to the Minister of Transport for a financial package to keep the airline afloat. The carrier has been beset by a number of problems which has seen it continue to run at a loss. Brexit has affected the volume of travelers, while also weakening the pound. The majority of Flybe’s payments towards running costs are in U.S. dollars, while most of its revenue is in sterling. Neither Virgin nor Flybe have recently released any financial results for the company. However, Virgin Atlantic boss Shai Weiss told City A.M. in October that turning the struggling company around, and to “keep Flybe flying”, was still a priority. (£1.00 = US$1.30 at time of publication.)

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