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Flybe asks government for bailout to avoid collapse

FLYBE bosses have reportedly held crunch talks with the government to seek a bailout that would save the airline from collapse.

The airline, which employs 2,000 staff, is understood to have held discussions with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT) at the weekend to see whether they can provide or facilitate emergency funding.

The Exeter-based carrier was bought by a consortium consisting of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital in February 2019 following poor financial results.

Flybe has been hit by a series of problems, including declining demand, rising fuel costs and the falling value of the pound.

If it collapses, it would be the second British airline to go bust in four months, following the demise of Thomas Cook.

Pilots’ union Balpa general secretary Brian Strutton said he was “appalled” that the future of another airline was “being discussed in secret with no input from employees or their representatives.”

He urged the parties involved to “stop hiding and talk to us.”

GMB national officer Nadine Houghton called on the government to step in, saying: “If Flybe goes belly up, it won’t just be direct employees at risk but 1,400 supply chain jobs as well.”

Spokesmen for the BEIS and the DfT issued identical statements saying: “We do not comment on speculation or the financial affairs of private companies.”

A company spokeswoman said: “We don’t comment on rumour or speculation.”

Flybe is Europe’s largest regional carrier, flying around eight million passengers a year to 170 destinations across the continent.

It has a major presence at British airports such as Aberdeen, Manchester and Southampton.

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