Flybe, the British regional airline which ceased all of its operations in March 2020, might be revived and return to service again in 2021. On October 19, 2020, the shareholder of the airline stepped into negotiations with EY, a company which had been appointed to handle Flybe‘s insolvency, in order to relaunch a smaller version of the airline as well as acquiring a large number of Flybe’s assets.
The EY, the administrator of the regional airline, agreed on a Flybe’s sale deal. This means that the brand, intellectual property, stock, and equipment as well as business and assets of Flybe would be brought back to life by Thyme Opco, a company affiliated to Cyrus Capital, which was one of three former shareholders of the airline.
Speaking about the possible future of the failed air carrier, a spokesperson of Thyme Opco considered that Flybe would start off smaller than it had been before the collapse. Before the closure on March 5, 2020, Flybe was the largest regional airline in Europe, operating to 81 airports. A spokesman said the revival plan of Flybe is in its initial stages although the renewed air carrier should restore essential regional connectivity in the United Kingdom.
Flybe was one of the first airlines forced to shut down operations partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel. The consequences of the pandemic were not the main reason for the collapse, but it was definitely the last nail in the air carrier’s coffin. Even before the COVID-19, Flybe had been set on a recovery path after being rebranded from Virgin Connect and suffering a hit of rising fuel costs, currency volatility and market uncertainty.
The airline reportedly failed to secure emergency funding seeking a $128 million loan from the British government under a rescue deal in January 2020. The regional air carrier collapsed with the loss of more than 2,400 jobs and with more than 60 aircraft grounded.