BMI Regional (flybmi) has become the latest casualty to fall by the wayside in the airline industry after announcing on Saturday (16 February) it had ceased operations and is filing for administration due to high fuel costs and Brexit uncertainty.
The East Midlands-based airline operates 17 regional jet aircraft on routes to 25 European cities and cancelled all flights with effect from Saturday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
flybmi is the latest airline to go under and the second this year joining Germania, and Primera Air, VLM Airlines, Small Planet Airlines, Sky Works, and Cobalt Air who have also ceased operations in the last six months.
A spokesperson for flybmi said:“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this unavoidable announcement today. The airline has faced several difficulties, including recent 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.
“These issues have undermined efforts to move the airline into profit. 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. Additionally, our situation mirrors wider difficulties in the regional airline industry which have been well documented.
“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.
“Our employees have worked extremely hard over the last few years and we would like to thank them for their dedication to the company, as well as all our loyal customers who have flown with us over the last 6 years.”
Bmi Regional employed a total of 376 employees based in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.
Flights operated by flybmi served Aberdeen, Bristol, Brno, City of Derry, Dusseldorf, East Midlands, Esbjerg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Jonkoping, Karlstad, London Stansted, Lublin, Milan Bergamo, Munich, Newcastle, Norrkoping, Nuremburg, Oslo, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Rostock/Laage, Saarbrucken and Stavanger.
The airline carried 522,000 passengers on 29,000 flights in 2018.