Train companies, airlines and coach firms are stepping up to help stranded Flybe passengers after the airline collapsed into administration this morning.
Europe’s largest regional airline announced in the early hours of this morning it had ceased trading with immediate effect, grounding all flights, and that administrators had been appointed.
In the wake of the disruption, every train operator in Britain has agreed to provide free travel until the end of March 11 for those affected and several airlines are offering cut-price “rescue fares” to enable Flybe customers to return home.
EasyJet and British Airways are also offering free flights to Flybe staff who need a way home.
The collapse could put up to 2,400 jobs at risk.
Flybe avoided going bust in January thanks to a government rescue deal but continued to lose money and has now said that a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus has “made a difficult situation worse”.
Virgin Atlantic, which owns the airline alongside Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital Partners, said it was “deeply disappointed” that Flybe no longer had a “viable basis” for funding.
A spokesperson said: “Sadly, despite the efforts of all involved to turn the airline around, not least the people of Flybe, the impact of COVID-19 on Flybe’s trading means that the consortium can no longer commit to continued financial support.”
Today the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted that it was “very sad” that the airline had gone out of business and said the government was “urgently working with the industry”.
A government spokesperson also said: “Flybe's financial difficulties were longstanding and well documented and pre-date the outbreak of COVID-19.
“We are well prepared a potential outbreak and this week we have set out an action plan with details of our response.”
There are currently more than 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
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