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Image: Flybmi

Flybmi blames Brexit for collapse

The regional airline, which had a strong presence in Scandinavia, has ceased operations and stranded passengers across Europe.

The British regional airline Flybmi, based East Midlands, has plunged into insolvency and cancelled all its flights.

The company is blaming its decision to file for administration on fuel costs, carbon costs and uncertainty over Brexit, the BBC reports.

The airline, which flies 17 Embraer-family aircraft to 25 cities in the UK and the rest of Europe and has 376 staff, is telling passengers to contact their travel agents or insurance and credit card companies.

The news has come as a shock to employees and passengers alike – especially as “customers have claimed that tickets were being sold in the hours before the airline went bust, knowing full well those tickets would never be honoured,” according to Rory Boland, travel editor for the consumers’ association and magazine Which?

Flybmi had a strong presence in the Nordic countries, with a base at Karlstad in Sweden and flying also to Jönköping and Norrköping in Sweden, Oslo in Norway and Esbjerg in Denmark, as well as seven cities in Germany plus destinations like Brussels, Paris, Lublin, Brno and Bergamo.

In the UK it flew from the East Midlands, London Stansted, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Bristol and Derry. In 2018, it carried around 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights.

SAS was a minority shareholder in bmi from 1989, eventually selling its 20% stake to Lufthansa in 2009. Lufthansa sold its own stake in 2012, and in August 2015 the airline became part of a new regional airline group, Airline Investments Limited along with Loganair.

Unobtainable contracts
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement,” a Flybmi spokesman said.

“The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.”

He continued: “Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe.”

Brian Strutton, general secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association, said that “the collapse of Flybmi is devastating news for all employees. Regrettably [we] had no warning or any information from the company at all.”

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