East Midlands airline Flybmi has suspended all flights after going into administration. The cancellation will affect destinations such as Bristol, Leeds and Munich. The airline said the flights won’t be rescheduled and advised passengers to contact their credit card companies for refunds on flights.
In a statement , the company said, "British Midland Regional Limited, the East Midlands-based airline which operates as Flybmi, has today announced that it has ceased operations and is filing for administration. Flybmi operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities. All flights have been cancelled with effect from today. Customers who booked with Flybmi should contact their payment card issuer to obtain a refund for flights which have not yet taken place.”
The airline also advised passengers that had booked flights through a travel agent or one of Flybmi's codeshare partner airlines to contact their agent or airline to discuss which options are available to them. They also suggested that passengers that have travel insurance should contact their travel insurance provider to find out if they can file a claim for cancelled flights.
Flybmi added that the airline has faced numerous setbacks, including recent increases in fuel and carbon costs as a result of the European Union's recent decision to bar UK airlines from participating in the Emissions Trading Scheme. The airline has seen profits decline as a result of the Brexit process, which has led to the company’s failure to secure flying contracts in Europe. The situation at Flybmi has been echoed by other regional airlines.
"Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline's shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40m in the last six years,” Flybmi said.
The airline, which employs 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium, regretted having to cancel flights but placed the blame on Brexit, which has exacerbated existing problems. They also thanked their employees for their hard work.
"We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable. Our employees have worked extremely hard over the last few years and we would like to thank them for their dedication to the company, as well as all our loyal customers who have flown with us over the last 6 years."
Flybmi has announced that Loganair will take over several of Flybmi's routes from Aberdeen and Newcastle. Ryanair has offered rescue fares for stranded passengers on some routes and has made an attempt to recruit former Flybmi staff.
The airline was established in 1987 as Business Air and launched operations in August 1987. In 1998, Business Air was taken over by British Midland, becoming British Midland Commuter. It became Flybmi in December 2017.
The airline was acquired by Sector Aviation Holdings, a company mainly owned and funded by Stephen and Peter Bond, whose family owned helicopter operator Bond Aviation Group, which was sold in 2010. In 2014, Flybmi was named the most punctual scheduled airline in the UK for the ninth year in a row. Based on Civil Aviation Authority statistics, the airline achieved an on-time performance of over 92% in 2013.