Nervousness about Flybe

By | Category: Travel news

Sky News has broken a story that Flybe might be in financial straits and is seeking a bailout from the government.

image of Flybe plane
Flybe in the old design before money was spent on a re-vamp. Should the money have been spent on promotions to get more passengers instead?

Readers may well ask themselves, if the story is true, why Flybe should receive a bailout when Thomas Cook did not. After all, it was just a year ago when, facing dire straits, it was sold out for a penny a share to a consortium consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart (which runs Carlisle and Southend airports as well as a regional airline itself) and Cyrus capital for £2.2 million, £2.8 million for the assets, a bridging loan of £20 million and an investment of £80 million once the deal had been settled and passed regulatory approval.

Sky says that the consortium needs more cash suggesting that it has got its sums wrong and or hadn’t appreciated the complexities of the airline.

There is really no other news with both Flybe and the government saying nothing else.

But Flybe is a bit of an oddity and important to regional tourism. Although many people dislike the airline because of its small cabbage bag allowance, it does link regional centres where little or no opposition exists.

You could argue that it would be no bad thing from an environmental point of view if the airline ceased trading because on many routes there is a competing train service which is a greener travel solution.

But for some routes like Cardiff to Edinburgh it’s pretty much a seven hour journey each way by rail making a weekend break quite a difficult affair and a day out an impossibility. Without Flybe at George Best, you might wonder if two airports are needed in Belfast. Without Flybe at Teeside International could the airport survive all year round just relying on KLM scheduled flights to Amsterdam? Would Southampton or Exeter airports be viable without Flybe?

Flybe fulfils more of a role than just being an airline. And that is going to have to make the government think hard about whether it should step in.

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