Martin Ford 05 March 2020

Flybe collapse hits council-owned airports

Flybe collapse hits council-owned airports image

Council-owned airports across the country have been hit by the collapse of Flybe.

The airline entered administration this morning, ceasing trading and leading to the grounding of all flights.

It operated domestic flights between dozens of regional airports but encountered financial difficulties last year and, despite new ownership, narrowly avoided going under in January.

The Government is ‘urgently’ working to find other airlines to take over Flybe’s routes, which would offer a lifeline to airports that relied on the airline.

Among the most seriously affected is Cornwall Airport Newquay, which is owned by Cornwall Council.

Last year, Flybe accounted for almost two-thirds of departures from the airport.

Also affected are:

  • Birmingham Airport - majority owned by Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton city councils, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall MBCs;
  • City of Derry Airport – owned by Derry City and Strabane DC;
  • Manchester and East Midlands airports – majority owned by Manchester and Salford city councils, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan MBCs;
  • Newcastle Airport - majority owned by Northumberland and Durham councils, Gateshead, South and North Tyneside MBCs, Newcastle and Sunderland city councils.

A Government spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with industry to minimise any disruption to routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not already covered by other airlines can be re-established by the industry.

‘Flybe's financial difficulties were longstanding and well-documented, and pre-date the outbreak of COVID-19.’

Anglesey Airport, owned by Isle of Anglesey CC and Teeside International Airport, owned by Tees Valley Combined Authority, have all avoided impact for the time being as their Flybe flights are operated by Eastern Airways.

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