Flybe is reportedly looking to defer its air passenger duty payments. The BBC reported that this is one of the avenues being explored during talks with the UK government. The news comes after Sky News yesterday revealed that the British regional airline is attempting to secure additional funding.
Just under a year ago, Flybe was rescued by a group of airlines including Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Air. However, the airline appears to be in trouble once more. Sources suggest that it is in last-minute talks with the UK government in order to prevent a possible collapse.
Air passenger duty
Having a large domestic network can have a huge downside for airlines like Flybe, and that is Air Passenger Duty. A £13 levy is applied on every passenger that departs a UK airport. However, most airlines only pay this one way. But, when you operate a large number of domestic flights, you end up having to pay it both ways.
According to the BBC, the airline’s owner, Connect Airways, is in talks with the government. One option on the table is delaying the due date on Flybe’s air passenger duty bill. However, the publication adds that this is an unpopular idea from the government’s point of view.
Simple Flying has been unable to get a hold of Flybe, however, the airline told the BBC:
“We don’t comment on rumour or speculation. Flybe continues to focus on providing great service and connectivity for our customers, to ensure that they can continue to travel as planned.”
BALPA urges government
BALPA, the British Airline Pilot Union, has urged the United Kingdom government to do “whatever it takes” to ensure Flybe’s survival. Speaking today, BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“I am appalled that once again the future of a major UK airline and hundreds of jobs is being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives. According to reports the airline could have collapsed over the weekend which would have been devastating news. This is an appalling state of affairs and we demand that the owners of Flybe – Virgin, Stobart and Cyrus – and the Government departments involved stop hiding and talk to us about Flybe. We have a right to be consulted and the staff have a right to know what is going on.”
Reports suggest that administrators have already been lined up in case Flybe should collapse. However, if this was was to happen, 2,000 jobs will be lost. Many jobs were lost when Thomas Cook collapsed last September.
As a result, businesses around the travel industry did what they could to help out. Airlines such as easyJet and Virgin Atlantic, alongside Manchester Airport and others, held events to try and fast track former employees back into work.
Do you think this could be the end of the road for Flybe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.