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Flybe missed out on a key chance to fly again

Flybe missed out on a key chance to fly again

A bankrupt Flybe Airlines missed out on a key contract that would allow it to run flights to Ireland.

It was a surprise this weekend that the Aer Lingus regional franchise went to Emerald Airlines. Emerald Airlines is a new carrier set up by Irish businessman Conor McCarthy.

Flybe was one of many regional carriers bidding o take over the Aer Lingus contract, Loganair and Stobart Air, which had run services on behalf of Aer Lingus for the past decade, were also thought to have been involved.

Ireland’s flag carrier, Aer Lingus is owned by British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group

The boss of Stobart Air had hoped for a deal to keep running Aer Lingus services for another 10 years, after the carrier was put up for sale by its listed parent, who also owns Southend airport.

The embattled airline was pushed into administration earlier this year as COVID-19 hammered the travel industry. But, even prior to the pandemic, in January 2020 Flybe narrowly avoided administration.

Europe’s largest regional airline officially collapsed in March, after minister rejected a plea for up to £100m ($132m) bailout by its owners including, Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson.

The collapse put more than 2,000 of jobs on the line at the Exeter-based airline.

IThyme Opco — a firm linked to former owners Cyrus Capital — has bought Flybe’s remaining assets in October. It planed to relaunch the purple planes in 2021, although on a smaller scale than before.

It is unclear how many jobs will be rescued under Thyme Opco’s new plans.

The airline served 119 routes and flew eight million passengers in its last full year. Flybe’s main business was operating domestic flights connecting UK cities.

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