Flybe passengers told not to travel to Belfast airport as UK airline enters administration, cancels all flights

Flybe was among the first airlines to go into administration in 2020 during Covid-19

British airline Flybe entered administration for the second time and has cancelled all scheduled flights to and from the UK, including from Belfast City Airport, the regional carrier said on Saturday.

With Britain in lockdown during the pandemic, Flybe was among the first airlines to go into administration in 2020, putting around 2,400 jobs at risk at that time.

It resumed flight services in April last year.

In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Flybe said that it has now “ceased trading” and advised travellers to not travel to airports as it would not be able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.


The High Court has appointed David Pike and Mike Pink as joint administrators of Flybe, it said.

Some 300,000 passenger journeys on and off the island of Ireland, through Belfast City Airport, were facilitated by Flybe each year, according to the industry.

In a statement, Belfast City Airport chief executive Matthew Hall said the company’s thoughts were “first and foremost” with Flybe employees and passengers affected by what he described as this “disappointing and unexpected news”.

Mr Hall said passengers booked on Flybe flights “should not travel to the airport” and should instead “seek further advice from the [UK] Civil Aviation Authority”.

Mr Hall stressed the airport had other carriers on eight of the ten routes flown by Flybe in and out of Belfast City Airport . He said alternative travel was available to Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, London Heathrow, Amsterdam, Edinburgh; Manchester, and Southampton. He said flights “can be arranged through Aer Lingus, KLM, British Airways and Loganair which operates flights to Teesside International from Belfast City Airport”.

Travel commentator and editor of Air and Travel Magazine Eoghan Corry, speaking on RTÉ's The Business radio show on Saturday, estimated that Flybe accounted for 30 percent of the airport’s passenger numbers in recent times.

He said the airline had been supported by a hedge fund since March 2020 and it was something of a surprise when following that support the airline opted to fly into destinations already offered by major carriers.

Mr Corry that, said as a smaller airline, Flybe would not have had access to the same level of protection from rising fuel prices due to the war in Ukraine or falling passenger numbers during the Covid pandemic. While international air travel was currently back to 83 percent of pre-Covid levels, there was no doubt that the Covid restrictions have contributed to the airline’s difficulties he said.

He also noted that Flybe served Heathrow in the UK, which he said is expensive for passengers.

Paul Smith, consumer director at UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), said in a statement: “Flybe's decision to stop trading will be distressing for all of its employees and customers.”

The CAA said it would provide advice and information to affected passengers.

Flybe, which was once the largest independent regional airline in Europe, operated between 81 airports, was sold to Thyme Opco, a firm controlled by Cyrus Capital, in 2021. – Additional reporting Reuters

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist