Flybe’s collapse leave Belfast airports looking like ‘ghost towns’

Staff were told they’d lost their jobs by email

Today Flybe, the largest independent airline in Europe, went into administration and cancelled all its flights.

With 49 flights out of Belfast today alone, 41 of them being Flybe, passengers who have travelled unknowingly are devastated.

One traveller said George Best City Airport looked “ghost town.” They added: “It will really hit this airport badly, most flights from small airports like this are through the likes of Flybe.”

Belfast City Airport has said “a number of airlines” have expressed interest in taking over all routes affected by the collapse of Flybe.

This has proven to be the first corporate casualty of the Coronavirus. Routes were cut from 189 down to 120 in January after the airline needed a bailout, but it was not enough to save the problems they faced, more of a temporary fix for a larger issue. While its financial problems were already apparent, a Flybe spokesperson said the impact of the coronavirus on the travel industry had “made a bad situation much worse”.

Over 2,000 Flybe staff at airports around the UK received an email to tell them their job at the company was ending.

Passengers have been told to categorically not travel to airports expecting to fly, all flights have been grounded with immediate effect and Flybe are not finding alternative flights. Refunds will not be offered through the airline, but if paid with a credit or debit card, there is a possibility the flights will be covered by insurance.

easyJet is now working with affected passengers by offering a ‘dedicated rescue fee’ for passengers up until the end of May. A fare of £65 will be available upon presentation of original Flybe booking reference. Along with this, from today (5th March) easyJet is offering free flights for all Flybe staff to get them home.