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Flybe collapse puts lifeline routes at risk

Flybe collapse puts lifeline routes at risk

Thursday 05 March 2020

Flybe collapse puts lifeline routes at risk


Protecting a lifeline route transporting Jersey cancer patients to Southampton for treatment and ensuring continuing service for local travellers is a “priority” after Flybe collapsed last night, government officials have said.

The Minister for Economic Development is in urgent meetings this morning with Ports of Jersey to discuss how to reduce the impact of the airline’s demise on the island.

The carrier was locked in talks throughout Wednesday, but no rescue deal was agreed.

It narrowly avoided going bust in January due to a deal with the UK government to defer a tax bill of around £100m, but continued losing money as the threat of coronavirus hit the travel industry.

southampton hospital

Pictured: Flybe provides a crucial route to Southampton, where Jersey cancer patients receive treatment.

In a statement posted on its website and social media feeds last night, Flybe said that it had entered administration. 

“All flights have been grounded and the UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect,” it read, before warning customers not to travel to the airport if they are due to travel with Flybe.

Flybe’s franchise partner Blue Islands has since pledged to cover cancelled routes to and from Exeter and Birmingham today for free to help affected travellers.

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Pictured: A statement on Flybe's website.

Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis. 

It also said that the routes it operates, which include Southampton and London City, will continue “as normal”.

However, the long-term implications of Flybe’s administration on Blue Islands services remains uncertain at this time.

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Pictured: Franchise partner Blue Islands said it would be continuing "as normal" for now.

A Blue Islands spokesperson said: “Blue Islands is saddened by the closure of Flybe. Our thoughts are with the staff, passengers, industry colleagues and wider stakeholders of the business affected at this difficult time. 

“We wish to thank all of our passengers and airport partners for their patience and support during this transitional period."

EasyJet is now also offering a 'rescue' service for affected customers, and is offering them a one-off fare of £65 on a service of their choice including a 15kg hold bag on presentation of their original Flybe booking reference.

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Pictured: EasyJet has vowed to help customers affected by Flybe's collapse.

Senator Lyndon Farnham, The Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, commented: “This morning, I am meeting with representatives from Ports of Jersey to understand the effect that the collapse of Flybe could have on Islanders. 

“The Government’s priority is to make sure we have a continuity of service to and from Jersey, and especially for those travelling to Southampton for medical treatment. 

“Local independent operator Blue Islands have assured me that all of their services will continue to operate as planned.” 

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Pictured: Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, has had urgent meetings with the Ports of Jersey this morning.

Last night’s collapse marks a painful end for the airline whose story began in Jersey.

In 1979, it took flight as ‘Jersey European’ before becoming ‘British European’ in the millennium amid a change in headquarters to Exeter.

That name was further shortened to ‘Flybe’ in 2002, as it attempted to re-position itself in the market as a low-cost airline.

After being bought by a Virgin-led consortium last year, Flybe had been due to take on another new identity as Virgin Connect in its first rebrand in 17 years.

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