Why British airline Flybe might not survive the month

As reported by the Financial Times, the emergency loan of £100mn requested by regional British airline Flybe is set to be rejected.

The Exeter-based Flybe has its main hubs at Birmingham and Manchester Airports. As of January, it had 68 aircraft and about 2,000 staff, flying some eight million passengers a year between airports in the UK and Europe.

Now, it has had to resort to asking the British Government for an emergency loan. Failing that, the company fears it could collapse imminently. According to the Independent, the company only has cash to keep it going until the end of the month.

The news serves as a sting in the tail after it was reported in January that a deal had been reached to save the company, which has been in dire straits for some time.

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Then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said at the time: “I welcome Flybe’s confirmation that they will continue to operate as normal, safeguarding jobs in the UK and ensuring flights continue to serve communities across the whole of the UK. The reviews we are announcing today ... will ensure that regional connections not only continue but flourish in the years to come.”

Since then, the world has seen the emergence of coronavirus, with significant knock on effects on the airline industry, further compounding Flybe’s woes due to the fall in passenger demand. As quoted in the Financial Times, Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary played down fears, saying: “The immediate short-term panic about travelling will erode very rapidly. It will erode over the next two or three weeks. Will families continue to travel on their Easter school break? Yes, they will unless there is some unforeseen events.”

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