Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

07.10 5 Mar 2020


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Belfast City Airport has said several airlines have expressed interest in taking over its routes following the demise of Flybe.

The airline operated 14 flights out of Belfast City Airport – up to 80% of its scheduled flights.

The owners of the British carrier confirmed it had entered administration early this morning, just weeks after a rescue deal had saved it from going bust.

The British carrier also operated from Dublin, Ireland West (Knock) and Cork with passengers on a number of flights told not to travel to the airport today.

"Challenging time"

On the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme on Thursday, Belfast City Airport CEO Brian Ambrose said it was a “challenging time” for staff.

“In the last 24 hours, we have had an interest in all of our network," he said.

“For some of the larger routes, we've had multiple interest from a number of airlines.

“So, I'm confident that within the next days and weeks we will be announcing backfill on a number of those routes and it is a matter of how quickly airlines can get aircraft available.”

He said the airline carried 1.6 million people in and out of Belfast last year.

Coronavirus

Overnight, Flybe sent an email to staff saying the coronavirus outbreak 'has put additional pressure on an already difficult situation'.

More than a dozen flights to and from Dublin Airport have been cancelled today.

Flybe services between Knock and both Manchester and Birmingham were also due to operate today.

The airline's flights between Cork and Cardiff have also been cancelled.

Bookings

The Commission for Aviation Regulation said passengers who booked flights by credit card should contact their provider to check if they are eligible for chargeback.

More information from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) can be found here.

Customers should also contact their card provider for further details.

If you purchased travel insurance, they should contact their provider to see if it includes airline failure cover – usually known as Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI).

Those who booked their cancelled flight through a partner airline on a code-share with Flybe, a booking engine or travel agent are advised to contact the relevant entity.

If a cancelled Flybe flight ticket was part of a travel or package holiday, customers should contact the travel agent or tour operator directly.

Alternative flights

In a statement, the airline said: "Flybe is unfortunately not able to arrange alternative flights for passengers.

"If you have a booking sold by another airline that includes travel on a Flybe flight, please contact the relevant airline or travel agent to confirm if there is any impact to your travel plans."

More information for passengers and affected employees is available on the Flybe website.

The airline has around 2,400 staff and carried about eight million passengers a year between 56 airports in the UK and Europe.

In January, the British government reached an agreement to save the airline amid mounting financial losses.

The then-business secretary Andrea Leadsom said the deal with Flybe's shareholders would keep the company operating.

Main image: File photo of a Flybe plane. Picture by: Pete Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images
Additional reporting Michael Staines

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