The airline was rescued last year by Thyme Opco, a company linked to the U.S. hedge fund Cyrus Capital. It was offering service from Belfast, Ireland, and Birmingham and Heathrow to airports across the United Kingdom and to Amsterdam and Geneva.
But the sudden news on Saturday that Flybe had folded again left passengers stranded, as the airline made clear it would not be able to arrange alternative flights. About 2,500 passengers were set to fly with the airline on Saturday, and around 75,000 passengers in total have now had their flights canceled, according to figures confirmed by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority, the country’s regulatory civil aviation body. The authority posted on its website a list of other airlines offering Flybe customers special fares.
“It is always sad to see an airline enter administration and we know that Flybe’s decision to stop trading will be distressing for all of its employees and customers,” Paul Smith, authority’s consumer director, said in a statement.
By international standards, Britain has comparably low use of commercial domestic flights. In April, Britain’s government is set to introduce long-awaited cuts to the taxes imposed on domestic flight carriers in a bid to improve national connectivity. The move, which has been welcomed by the industry, is part of the government’s “leveling up” agenda — a policy that seeks to even out disparities between England’s economically disadvantaged North and its more prosperous South.
But the announcement of the tax cut back in 2021, just days before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, was criticized at the time by environmental groups. Some are now calling for Britain to enact a nationwide short-haul flight ban similar to one that France imposed last year. In April, France became the first country to ban flights between cities that are linked by a train trip of less than 2.5 hours.