Administrators appointed to handle the collapse of UK regional airline Flybe have partly blamed its financial troubles on the late delivery of aircraft.
David Pike and Mike Pink from Interpath Advisory were appointed as joint administrators of the Birmingham airport-headquartered carrier on 28 January, with all operations immediately ceasing.
Flybe lasted barely a year in its latest guise, having relaunched services in April 2022 following the administration of its predecessor in March 2020. The assets of that business were acquired for just £1.
Pike says: “Unfortunately, the company had to withstand a number of shocks since its relaunch, not least of which was the late delivery of 17 aircraft which it needed for its schedule, and which has severely compromised both the airline’s capacity and its ability to remain competitive.
“This has driven significant financial losses and an associated cash drain for the business.”
Like its predecessor Flybe was operating a fleet of leased De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 twin-turboprops. Cirium fleets data shows the majority of these were from Nordic Aviation Capital, with a single example sourced from Aergo Capital.
Aergo – which had acquired a package of 20 former Flybe Dash 8s in July 2021 – had in May 2022 signed a deal with the carrier for the lease of an initial five units.
Pike says over the past month Flybe’s directors had undertaken “enormous efforts” to shore up the business, including seeking “new owners and/or investors”.
“Unfortunately, with the aviation sector still adjusting to the ‘new normal’ following the pandemic, it appears the time was not right for this process to reach a successful conclusion,” he says.
“Having ultimately exhausted its available capital base, and with no alternative options available, the directors have taken the difficult decision to place the company into administration.”
Flybe was owned by Thyme Parentco, a UK-registered holding company, the majority of whose shares were in turn held by DLP Holdings - a Luxembourg-based fund associated with Cyrus Capital, the owners of the original Flybe at the time of its collapse.
Pike says the “new Flybe” was “received warmly” when it began flights last year and describes its collapse as “real setback” for UK regional connectivity, notably for Northern Ireland where the company had a large operation at Belfast City.
He is hopeful that a rescue deal could be struck and says the administrators “intend to preserve scaled-back elements of the operating platform for a short period” to enable any possible transaction.