Flybe could start flying again in the UK in early 2021 – after collapsed regional airline is bought out

FLYBE could start flying again from early next year.

The regional airline went into administration in March, but it is now being bought out by Thyme Opco Ltd.

EY, the administrators of the collapsed firm, said it had agreed to a sale of Flybe's business and assets, including the brand, intellectual property, stock and equipment, to Thyme Opco Ltd.

A Thyme Opco spokesperson said: "While we plan to start off smaller than before, we expect to create valuable airline industry jobs [and] restore essential regional connectivity in the UK."

The deal is expected to allow Flybe to re-start operations as a regional airline in the UK under the Flybe brand in early 2021, the joint administrators said, adding that the transaction is still subject to certain confidential conditions.

A plunge in demand for air travel since the start of this year due to the coronavirus crisis pushed Flybe into administration in March.

The Exeter-based carrier, which was the largest independent regional airline in Europe, operated between 81 airports.

In February 2019, it was bought by a consortium consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital following poor financial results.

The consortium, known as Connect Airways, paid just £2.2million for Flybe's assets but pledged to pump tens of millions of pounds into the loss-making airline to turn it around.

But Flybe was hit by a series of problems, including falling demand, rising fuel costs and the weakening of the pound.

A drop in demand for flights caused by coronavirus fears then "made a difficult situation worse" for the budget airline, a source reportedly told PA.

Discussions had been held with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) to see whether they could provide or facilitate emergency financing, but they failed.

The airline confirmed it had ceased trading with immediate effect in the early hours of March 5.

About 2,000 people were employed by the airline at the time of its collapse.

When was Flybe founded and where did it fly to?

The airline began as Jersey European Airways in 1979, operating regional flights from Jersey.

Its route network grew and it was re-branded British European in 2000, before becoming Flybe in 2002.

It flew to France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as the Isle of May, Guernsey and Jersey.

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