Another airline in trouble
Loganair takes over routes from failed airline Flybmi
Scottish routes will continue to be operated by Loganair
Loganair has taken over three routes serving Aberdeen from collapsed airline Flybmi amid chaos for passengers left stranded across Europe.
The East Midlands-based airline, which flew to 25 cities, filed for administration on Saturday and came in for criticism for taking payments for flights in recent days.
On Sunday Loganair stepped in to take over routes connecting Aberdeen with Bristol, Oslo and Esbjeg, although these will not begin until 4 March. The two carriers are owned by the same holding company, Airline Investments. Loganair will also take on two flights from Newcastle to Brussels and Stavanger from 11 March.
Flybmi, which had just 17 aircraft, has told travellers affected by cancelled flights to contact their insurance and credit card companies, but there was an immediate backlash over the company’s failure to alert passengers to its imminent problems.
Rory Boland, travel editor at Which?, said: “Some customers have claimed that tickets were being sold in the hours before the airline went bust, knowing full well those tickets would never be honoured, and passengers will rightly be outraged if this is proved to be the case.”
On Saturday the company, which employs 376 staff and operates more than 600 flights a week, said it had faced difficulties including spikes in fuel and carbon costs, the latter arising from the EU’s recent decision to exclude UK airlines from full participation in the Emissions Trading Scheme.
“Current trading and future prospects have also been seriously affected by the uncertainty created by the Brexit process, which has led to our inability to secure valuable flying contracts in Europe and lack of confidence around bmi’s ability to continue flying between destinations in Europe.
“Against this background, it has become impossible for the airline’s shareholders to continue their extensive programme of funding into the business, despite investment totalling over £40m in the last six years. We sincerely regret that this course of action has become the only option open to us, but the challenges, particularly those created by Brexit, have proven to be insurmountable.”
A number of airlines have blamed Brexit as a factor in the sector’s recent spate of failures and setbacks. Ryanair’s chief marketing officer said “a Brexit backdrop” would be responsible for slower growth in the UK than the EU in the next financial year. The chief executive of Flybe – not connected to Flybmi – blamed “significant uncertainties presented by Brexit” for some of the airline’s troubles. Last month Flybe was rescued by a consortium involving Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Air and a US hedge fund.
In 2017, three large European carriers collapsed in quick succession: Monarch in the UK, Air Berlin, and Alitalia. High fuel prices and overcapacity, which drives down fares, were regarded as the main causes.