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Regional airline Flybe in bid to stave off collapse

Flybe, Europe's biggest regional airline, was locked in survival talks on Sunday night less than a year after being bailed out by a Virgin Atlantic-led consortium.

Sky News can exclusively reveal that Flybe, which handles over half of Britain's domestic flights outside London, has been trying to secure additional financing amid mounting losses.

EY, the accountancy firm, has been put on standby to handle an administration of Flybe Group, according to aviation industry sources.

Image: The airline is one of Britain's best-known aviation brands

The government is understood to have been briefed on the crisis at Flybe in the last few days, with more than 2,000 jobs at risk if the company collapses.

One source close to Flybe said on Sunday night that the Department for Transport and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had been working to determine whether the government could provide or facilitate any emergency financing to the company.

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If Flybe is unable to stitch together a rescue deal, it would be the second major airline collapse in four months, following Thomas Cook Group's implosion last September.

Flybe operates about 75 aircraft and serves more than 80 airports across the UK and Europe.

More from Flybe

In Britain, it has a significant presence at airports including Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton.

Under a deal that completed last March, a consortium comprising Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group, which owns Southend Airport, and Cyrus Capital Partners acquired Flybe's operating assets.

A Flybe plane went "nose down". File pic
Image: Flybe was sold to a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic last year

Cyrus Capital owned the largest share of a newly formed company called Connect Airways, with 40%, while the other partners owned 30% each.

Mark Anderson, a Virgin Atlantic executive, was installed as Connect Airways's chief executive.

The consortium had pledged to pump £100m into Flybe's turnaround plan, with the airline being re-branded as Virgin Connect from later this year.

Insiders said, however, that Connect's proposed financing requirements had become more onerous, potentially leaving Flybe on the brink of collapse.

Flybe continues to provide great service and connectivity for our customers while ensuring they can continue to travel as planned. We dont comment on rumour or speculation.

— Flybe ✈ (@flybe) January 12, 2020

Last week, the company said it was examining potential redundancies buRead More – Source

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